REFLECTIONS ON THE Residency in Urbana-Champaign

Through the support of the Center for World Music at the University of Illinois and the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, I spent the end of January in Urbana-Champaign performing at the Global Roots Festival, the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, and the University of Illinois. It was an amazing experience to share the music of Mozambique with a community so eager to learn and get out of their chairs to dance. I’ve shared a few pictures and videos from the events of the week below. I will add more in a couple of weeks.

Workshop given at the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures

Residency in Urbana-Champaign

Through the support of the Center for World Music at the University of Illinois and the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, I will be performing a series of workshops and shows in Urbana-Champaign from January 29th through February 1st. I am pleased to be able to participate in this residency and share my music with the community of Illinois. You can find information about my series of performances on my calendar, or read more on the University of Illinois website.

See more about my performances for the public at this link:

Recipient of the MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, 2020

I am proud to share that I have received the honor of being named a 2020 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grantee. The Artist Initiative grant program is designed to support and assist professional Minnesota artists at various stages in their careers by encouraging artistic development, nurturing artistic creativity, and recognizing the contributions of individual artists to the creative environment of the state of Minnesota. Grants are awarded for projects that will enhance or expand artistic skills or process, and advance an artist’s career by helping them generate greater visibility with and exposure to potential audiences. With this grant, I will produce my first album titled Libandzuwa: The Power of the Sun and establish several performances and workshops with the public.

As a fiscal year 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, many of this year’s activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. You can read more about the Artist Initiative program and other 2020 recipients here:


All-Ages Music Lesson at Anoka County Library

I had a great time sharing music experiences at the Anoka County Library, especially seeing children getting excited about instruments from my home country.  This is the best reward any musician can have–sharing with young musicians is far better than having a big stage or playing for a large audience.  I am grateful for this special Saturday we were able to share together.

World Refugee Day 2018

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Twin Cities World Refugee Day 2018.  Once again, it was a beautiful day filled with music and culture.

A special thanks to my friend, colleague, and incredible musician Clifton Nesseth for performing a piece with me this afternoon.


Art-A-Whirl Concert at Mojo Monkey, May 19, 2018

The performance at Mojo Monkey for Art-A-Whirl was different from every other show this year so far.  Rather than performing solo, this was a day-of improvisation performance with the owner of Mojo–Mark–and two musicians he collaborates with regularly.

I discovered that my Mbiras sound beautiful with fiddle music–I am looking forward to collaborating further with the incredible Clifton Nesseth.  We took several videos of our performances that day, which I will upload here.

Mojo Monkey is an art-filled oasis in Northeast Minneapolis. This group played together for the first time at the Saturday art-a-whirl festivities. Apologies for the poor lighting.

Calling All Artists and Music Lovers: Art-A-Whirl 2018

Thanks again for everyone who came out to the last few spring performances around the Twin Cities.  Between the Festival of Nations’ lively crowd and Urban Forage’s quiet and thoughtful group, I am truly enjoying the audiences of Minnesota.

If you are looking for a festival atmosphere this afternoon, come out to Northeast Minneapolis for Art-A-Whirl.   I’ll be playing from 2-4PM at Mojo Coffee Gallery, there might even be a few other local performers that jump in on this casual show. Come grab a coffee and see some art.  Looking forward to seeing you there!


Mojo Coffee Gallery

Urban Forage, May 12, 2018

What a wonderful venue Urban Forage is for an intimate and personal performance.  Jeff is a generous host and a pleasure to work with.  I look forward to returning again and again!

I loved sharing this lovely night with all of you.  Here are a couple of pictures to remind us of the evening of stories, songs, and images from Mozambique.

Nyttu Chongo performing for family and friends at Urban Forage Winery & Ciderhouse in Minneapolis on May 12, 2018.