Berlin 7-piece and collective Jembaa Groove prepare for UK landing, tour and BBC 6 Music session and ready release of a recently recorded EP featuring new live treatments of four tracks from their 2022 album Susuma, furthering their adventures into Afro-soul and jazzy West African rhythms.
“A wonderful album full of warm, sinuous West African grooves and a deep-rooted soulfulness that really hits the spot” Ban Ton Ton
“Legendary stuff!…sounding beautiful“ Cerys Matthews (BBC 6 Music)
“The album would make any audiophile’s sound system sing” Songlines
“This Jembaa Groove is so good!” Coco Maria (Worldwide FM)
“A groovy blend of traditional West African and highlife rhythms infused with classic jazz and soul touch=points that’s all complemented beautifully by Owusu’s vocals“ KEXP
Berlin based Afro-soul outfit will tour the UK between 7th and 14th October taking in 2 dates in London (Hootananny & Oslo Hackney) with further live shows in Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Falmouth. The group’s travels will also see them visit BBC Maida Vale Studios for a special live session on Cerys Matthews’s BBC 6 Music Sunday show on 9th October.
To coincide, the group release 4 live tracks, full of poly-rhythms and built around the highlife traditions of Ghana yet full of the spirit of vintage North American jazz and soul.
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. They soon realised they shared a mutual love of West-African music and it wasn’t long before they were jamming together in the studio and a special magic was brewing. Yannick Nolting is from Germany and spent his formative years producing and playing with Lusophone artists in Lisbon. Eric Owusu 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).
Jembaa Groove embraces the warm and vintage elements of soul music and the baritone chords of 60’s & 70’s black America yet their core rhythmical foundations are from highlife. Born and developed in 20th century Ghana, highlife is a form of music from West Africa that combines African rhythms and traditional Akan music, with added western instruments like the guitar and horns. This melding of the sound of the west, provided for the smoother sounding qualities within highlife, where jazz and blues would offer new branches of the genre – a perfect departure point for Jembaa Groove.
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 their debut album 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.
“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!”