At The Sugar Club before a vibrant performance by Niwel Tsumbu’s Hearbeat (with special guest Shayan Coohe), IMC’s Kenneth Killeen caught up with Niwel in a long chat about musical explorations while growing up in Congo, falling in love with the guitar, meeting and collaborating with Irish-based musicians, and more.
Since arriving in Ireland in 2004 from the Congo, Niwel Tsumbu has developed an enviable reputation as a masterfully elegant and fluent guitarist, vocalist, musician, collaborator and composer. He has performed with the finest Irish and international musicians while continuing to craft his own distinctive fusion of new jazz, rhumba, world, flamenco, rock, soukous and classical.
An exceptional talent who quickly became a prominent face on the Irish scene, having collaborated extensively with some of the most celebrated names in Irish Music such as Sinéad O'Connor, Liam O'Maonlaí, and Dónal Dineen, among others, as well as international stars such as Ma Xiaohui (composer of the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon soundtrack), Senegalese legend Baaba Maal, and Nigel Kennedy. He has released 2 albums to critical acclaim ("Songs of the Nations", and "S'all Vibration"), and was funded by Cork City Council Arts Office to write a symphony known as 'The Big Bang Symphony' with The Clear Sky Ensemble, an assembled group of musicians from all over the world.
The list of artists that Niwel has performed with continues to grow with each year. Recently Niwel and Trasna (Mel Mercier, Liam O Maonlai) appeared at the Festival of World Culturesand in China at Expo 2010 alongside Xiaohui Ma. Niwel has shared the stage with Baaba Maal and played concerts in his native Congo and Paris. His performances of ‘Electric Counterpoint’ at The Reich Festival in front of composer Steve Reich and at Kilkenny Arts Festival were a triumph.
He continues to collaborate with leading DJ Donal Dineen on his Parish live act, the Crash Ensemble, composer Roger Doyle, Eamon Cagney’s Treelan ensemble, Dave Flynn’s DFF, and many more.
Find more of Niwel’s work on his Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/Niwel-Tsumbu-Sounds-212103155519751
You can find him on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/niweltsumbu/
Or on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/NiwelTsumbu
Niwel’s class in fingerstyle guitar is available on World Music Method https://worldmusicmethod.com/product-category/tribal-congolese-fingerstyle-guitar/
His recent duo release with Eamonn Cagney is available to buy here https://www.eamonncagney.com/product/the-art-of-duo/ or on Bandcamp https://eamonncagney.bandcamp.com/releases
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Improvised Music Company is an Arts Council funded promoter and resource organisation www.improvisedmusic.ie
Thanks to Justin Carroll's Togetherness for our podcast theme https://justincarroll.bandcamp.com/album/togetherness