Mathew Tembo


Hailing from Zambia, Mathew Tembo began his journey as a musician in 1994 while singing for a band called Afro-Vision. He plays the silimba and a kalimba with a pop band. His music is a fusion of traditional Zambian music with modern music and reggae. He uses instruments such as kalumbu, kalimba, and mbalule, but his main instrument is the silimba, the Zambian marimba.

He studied music education at Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce in Zambia, majoring in Classical Piano and later studied primary education with a bias in music at the University of Zambia. An active musician while in college, he played for popular reggae bands including the Bantu Roots, Waves Musical Youths and his own group, the Dark Black Band. He pursued his education by enrolling for a Master’s degree in World Music Performance at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, where he graduated in May 2013.

After his first five reggae albums, he began incorporating indigenous music. In 2004, Tembo a reggae singer began exploring traditional Zambian instruments, incorporating these instruments into original compositions. In 2008, his song ‘Nandunge’ taken from his ‘Anthem’ was awarded Best Afro-fusion category at the Born and Bred Awards. It was the first album to feature Zambian traditional instruments at the awards.

He made headlines at festivals such as the Millpond Music Festival in Bishop, Calif.; Umoja Festival in Pittsburgh, the Accacia Festival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival in Evanston, Ill., and the 3rd Thursdays Arts Festival in Rochester, Minn.

During his year in Pittsburgh, in the U.S., he plugged into the local music scene to some extent, playing with local artists including Colter Harper, Preach Freedom and Geña. While in Pittsburgh, he made a connection with Occidental Brothers Dance Band International. He saw the band perform its brand of Central and West African dance music at The Andy Warhol Museum, and met guitarist Nathaniel Braddock. When Tembo moved to DeKalb, Ill., to pursue his world-music studies, he got in touch with Braddock and ended up jamming with him.

He has toured Europe, Africa, and America. He is one of the most important ambassadors of Zambian Music.

USPittsburgh, United States


Mathew Tembo
Profile added by Ano Shumba on 09 Dec 2015
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