Siama's Congo Roots: Feel-good music from the heart of Africa
“Siama and his musicians put on a sensational show. The music is unique, joyful and utterly irresistible. Truly a delight to work with! - Katie Wildfong, Minneapolis Institute of Art”
He speaks English, Lingala, Swahili, Kikongo and French
MEET SIAMA: Back in Africa, Congolese guitarman Siama Matuzungidi recorded hundreds of songs and toured the globe with popular soukous artists. Now based in Minneapolis, Siama's 2016 album ("Rivers - from the Congo to the Mississippi") garnered media attention the world-over, his new kids' album ("The Land of Yangalele") received a Parents' Choice Parent Approved award and he's featured in a very special episode of Public Television/TPT's, "Lowertown Line" about his life and music. In addition to soukous, Siama's exploring traditional Bakongo and Mbaka music and he's picked up the mbira and belafon (African thumb piano and marimba).
Siama has received a McKnight Fellowship, an MRAC Next Step Grant and from MN State Arts Board - an Artist Initiative grant, Arts Learning grant, a Community Partners grant and an Arts Tour grant. Siama and his wife and musical partner Dallas Johnson recently received World Music Pedagogy certificates from Smithsonian Folkways, they're COMPAS Teaching Artists and they teach music in elementary schools for Classical MPR's Class Notes Artists program. Siama's been featured in media outlets like Songlines, BBC, MPR and more.
Siama's known for his spirited singing, catchy songs and traditional African instruments like mbira and balafon. Whether acoustic (solo, duo with his wife, singer Dallas Johnson or trio w/ drums) or with his 5+ piece jazz band (Here's a sample of the bigger group) Siama's imaginative, organic music is always an inspiring, spirit-lifting adventure.
2018 Performance highlights: Orchestra Hall's Sommerfest, The Ordway, Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Center, Northrup Plaza, Hopkins Center for the Arts - Downtown Park, the Dakota, MN State Fair's International Bazaar stage, Selby Jazz Festival, Lowertown Guitar Festival, Cedar Cultural Center, In the Heart of the Beast Theatre, Pilgrimage Fest (Nashville), Alys Stephen's Recital Hall (Birmingham) and libraries in New Orleans
Siama and his partner Dallas Johnson host a fun, interactive music program for kids and families where they play catchy songs and encourage everyone to sing along, dance and play handheld percussion instruments while learning fun African singing styles like yodeling and call-and-response. In 2018 they hosted over 150 of their kids' programs in libraries and schools throughout MN, TN, AL and LA.
CLASSES for ADULT and YOUNG ADULTS
Siama and Dallas teach an African Singing Class and a Songwriting Workshop.
They've taught a Smithsonian Folkways World Music Pedagogy course at St. Thomas University, at HUGE Improv Theatre in Minneapolis (adult improv artists and actors), Woodland Hills Residence in Duluth (for teen men), Franklin Library (for young teenagers), Alabama School of Fine Arts (high school students), UofW River Falls (college students) and more. These classes are a great fit for libraries, lifelong learning programs, teenage/youth programs, hospitals or residential settings, wherever you want to build a sense of community and provide an opportunity for creative expression.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo:
“When we listen to Siama's, "Land of Yangalele" we hear home, Mama Africa.
This is very beautiful music that everyone can enjoy.”
Joe and Justin - The Okee Dokee Brothers:
“We dig it! A great addition to the family music mosaic!
Outstanding rhythms and performances. ”