Thursday, March 25, 2010

Niwel Tsumbu plays Speakeasy Jazz night in Shannon Rowing Club tonight

CONGOLESE guitarist Niwel Tsumbu is to play in Shannon Rowing Club this week as part of the regular Speakeasy Jazz night, and this is one gig we are getting very excited about.
This is a very rare appearance in Limerick for the Cork based virtuoso, following on from his appearance at Africa Day last year, which - although played in the pouring rain - lifted the spirits of this reporter and those lucky enough to witness Tsumbu’s eclectic blend of rumba, jazz and flamenco inspired African rhythms, complete with lyrics in his native Lingala.
Tsumbu is touring Ireland on his 'Song of the Nations' tour, to plug his most recent album of the same name, but is taking a very special detour to play for the Speakeasy night, and what a unique one it promises to be.
“He is brilliant,” gushed Niamh McNamara, organiser of the twice-monthly jazz night, “We are lucky to get him. He is touring his album at the moment, but he wasn't originally supposed to come to Limerick and it is a bit of a de-tour for him, so we are very lucky to get him - he is happy to be spreading the music as well I think.”
Tsumbu won’t have his full band for the rare Limerick appearance, but will have a percussionist and strings, but this toned-down accompaniment means that those that venture to the gig will witness his astonishing vocal and guitar-playing abilities up close and personal - think a little bit of Led Zeppelin mixed with Rodrigo y Gabriela, washed down with Tinariwen’s African melodies and quirks.
“We are very excited - it will be totally different to any of the other gigs we have had down in the club and it is great to get a different type of music coming to Limerick as well, so we are delighted,” said Niamh.
Tsumbu moved to Ireland in 2004 where he made an instant impact on the music scene, forming bands such as Sumu, Jazzmu and Motema.
He plays a range of music that stretches from contemporary versions of Congolese traditional music from the 1930s & 40s to modern jazz, and has played with the likes of Kila, The Wailers, Horace Andy from Massive Attack, and Cameroon virtuoso bass player Richard Bona.
Of his mix of styles, he says simply: “I don't mix things, it is just what I do. I've been influenced by those things and they come out that way. I like to bounce off ideas. I like people to push me. I like to be challenged as well.”
He adds: “The great thing I think for me is playing and meeting people all along - I still keep meeting people”.
Niwel Tsumbu plays the Speakeasy Jazz night in Shannon Rowing Club this Thursday night, doors 9.30pm.

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