It’s been a busy time for the Berlin based collective. Having stepped out of the shadows with their debut album Susuma in spring 2022, they’ve hit the ground running, recorded a session for BBC 6 Music, released a live EP and performed various shows through Europe including a recent stop at Groningen ESNS. And to top that, they’ve just confirmed a showcase at the inaugural SXSW festival in Austin Texas this coming March.

Their poly-rhythmical debut album Susuma was built around the West African highlife tradition and the spirit of classic US jazz and soul. Delving into a wealth of influences from across both sides of the Atlantic as well as the Berlin scene – hip hop and jazz – the group’s musical vitality, journeying philosophy and indeed their band name, comes from the energy and spirituality of their take, and on the rhythms that feed the groove. Utilising the musical techniques, cultural context, and spirit of Ghanaian highlife they are as much influenced by the creativity of highlife pioneer Ebo Taylor and Dr. K. Gyasi as they are to the US groove machines of say Charles Bradley or Lee Fields.

The conception of Jembaa Groove happened late 2020, when band leaders Yannick Nolting (bass, composer, producer) and Eric Owusu (percussion, vocals, songwriter) met while picking up their young sons from the local playground. Yannick is from Germany and spent his formative years producing and playing with Lusophone artists in Lisbon.

Eric is from Ghana (although he spent a large part of his life living in Nigeria) and has musically grown as a reputed percussionist working, recording and performing live with artists like Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas, and Orlando Julius (who he lived with whilst living in Accra).

Comprising seven band members, hailing from various corners of the world, their practice sessions are driven by a wild mix of languages and cultural expression. Listening to Susuma, you can hear Eric singing in Ga, (one of several languages spoken in the city of Accra, Ghana), Yoruba and Twi and pidgin English.

Garnering a smattering of support from the media world like BBC6, KEXP, KCRW, Worldwide FM, FIP, RFI, Rinse FM, WDR Cosmo and enough stations round the world off the back of their debut album Susuma, Jembaa Groove are causing a storm with their hybrid West African meets US soul & jazz sound. 

“Jembaa Groove is all about positive vibes. We try to promote positivity, togetherness and respect. But also try to remind others as well as ourselves that destiny lies in our hands, and that you can’t take things for granted. If you want something, go for it, but respect the people!”

On Tour

Date City Venue Country
16 Jun 2023 Bristol Lost Horizon United Kingdom
17 Jun 2023 Lowestoft First Light Festival United Kingdom
07 Jul 2023 Kraggenburg Wildeburg Festival Netherlands
08 Jul 2023 Münster Live & in Farbe Germany
15 Jul 2023 Berlin Haus der Kulturen Germany
27 Jul 2023 Heidelberg Metropolink Festival Germany
29 Jul 2023 Hamburg Knust Germany
05 Aug 2023 San Marino Smiaf Festival Italy
06 Aug 2023 Cologne Mit-Afrika Festival Germany
16 Aug 2023 Winterthur Winterthurer Musikfestwochen Switzerland
02 Sep 2023 Bochum vibes & stories Germany
10 Sep 2023 Düsseldorf Düsseldorf Festival ! Germany
28 Oct 2023 Berlin Privatclub Germany