Otto Gumaelius

Marimba Music From Southern Africa

Otto Gumaelius is a London based, Botswana raised, performing artist & teacher of southern African folk music on the marimba.

Music For Liberia Charity Fundraiser Concert

Since 2008, Music for Liberia has raised money for education in Liberia through concerts and events featuring world renowned classical, African and jazz musicians. Through donations, the charity and its partners have been able to fund crucial work in Liberia, including building libraries, supporting rural schools and providing accommodation for Ebola orphans.

This year’s Music For Liberia Charity Fundraiser concert was held on November 10th at St Gabriel’s Church in Pimlico. Here are a few pictures from our performance.

Otto And The Mutapa Calling African Marimba Band - Music For Liberia Charity Concert - St Gabriels Church Pimlico London
Otto And The Mutapa Calling African Marimba Band - Music For Liberia Charity Concert - St Gabriels Church Pimlico London
Otto And The Mutapa Calling African Marimba Band - Music For Liberia Charity Concert - St Gabriels Church Pimlico London
Otto And The Mutapa Calling African Marimba Band - Music For Liberia Charity Concert - St Gabriels Church Pimlico London
Otto & The Mutapa Calling African Marimba Band At Music For Liberia in Pimlico London

South Africa Heritage Day Family Picnic

Otto & The Mutapa Calling had the pleasure of entertaining the crowds at the South Africa Heritage Day family picnic this past weekend in Wimbledon Park. It was lovely seeing the diverse community of cultures come together in their beautiful traditional outfits to celebrate their heritage! Here are a few pictures from the day.

Otto & The Mutapa Calling at South Africa Heritage Day Picnic in Wimbledon Park London
Otto & The Mutapa Calling at South Africa Heritage Day Picnic in Wimbledon Park London
Otto & The Mutapa Calling at South Africa Heritage Day Picnic in Wimbledon Park London
Otto & The Mutapa Calling at South Africa Heritage Day Picnic in Wimbledon Park London
Otto & The Mutapa Calling at South Africa Heritage Day Picnic in Wimbledon Park London
Otto & The Mutapa Calling at South Africa Heritage Day Picnic in Wimbledon Park London

Leytonstone Street Festival

My band and I had a lovely time performing at Leytonestone Street Festival yesterday! There was a ton of great food, talented music bands and all round good vibes! It was a pleasure to be part of the action, and to perform at one of our favourite live music venues, Luna - The Home of Live Music. Here's a little clip of my song Dineo.

One Love Festival of Reggae & Ska

At the forefront of the UK Reggae and World music scene for over 11 years is One Love Festival of Reggae and Ska in the beautiful countryside of Somerset. Also known as the people’s festival of undividing peace and unconquering love, the festival creates a world where hope and love unites everyone into a combined and unbreakable positive force – where everyone is welcome and no-one’s judged – an atmosphere of acceptance where there are no borders - creating one people and one world.

This year, the festival introduced the Kaya World Music Stage – an outdoor stage introducing a line up of exciting music from around the world. My band, Otto & The Mutapa Calling, had the great honour of performing on the Kaya World Music Stage.

Here is a little clip of one of the songs we played.

Southburgh Festival of World Music

I spent my Saturday afternoon teaching marimba workshops at Southburgh Festival of World Music, and what a great day it was! The festival was full of friendly smiles. It was a treat getting to see Chartwell Dutiro perform with his group Mystic Mbira. A big thanks to Anna for having me. I hope to be back next year!

 Photo credit: Briannah Wilson

Photo credit: Briannah Wilson

ZimFest Paris

I've just come back from a lovely long weekend in Paris where I got the opportunity to teach and perform. The occasion was ZimFest - and the weekend was all about cultural music from Zimbabwe, even though I of course snuck in some material from Botswana :) On offer were mbira and marimba workshops, which included elements of singing and dancing. On the Saturday the teachers and other collaborators came together to give a concert, followed by a second smaller concert on Sunday afternoon where the students got to showcase what they learnt.

It was a lovely weekend at Théâtre de Verre with a beautiful mix of cultures and people from all walks of life coming together through music.

 Photo Credit: Fredrik Andersson

Photo Credit: Fredrik Andersson

African Heritage Residential Weekend

My teaching took me up to Kettering today, where I worked with teenagers of African heritage, most of whom were born here in the UK, or moved here when they were very young. I shared a few folk songs on the marimbas, and we got to sing and dance a bit as well. 

 Together with some of the organisers and mentors. From left to right, Rumbi Mukoyi, Saba Getty, Otto Gumaelius & Dumi Senda

Together with some of the organisers and mentors. From left to right, Rumbi Mukoyi, Saba Getty, Otto Gumaelius & Dumi Senda

 My lovely office for the day :)

My lovely office for the day :)

Art Night London

Art Night is an annual free contemporary arts festival that puts art into extraordinary locations around London for one night a year.

The main festival is curated by the Hayward Gallery and Art Night Open features curated events from artists, curators and local institutions.

My band, Otto & The Mutapa Calling, had the pleasure of being part of this year's Art Night, which took place across several venues across south London this year. We were part of two live performance processions, curated by Marinella Senatore. The first took place at Battersea Power Station, and the second was at New Union Square in Nine Elms.

Otto & The Mutapa Calling performing at Art Night London 2018. Credits: Marinella Senatore, 'The London Procession' (2018). Curated by Hayward Gallery for Art Night 2018. Video by Joshua Simpson. Courtesy the artist and Art Night

Here are a few pictures from the lovely night shot by Robert Piwko.

Art Night London - Marinella Senatore
Art Night London - Marinella Senatore
Art Night London - Marinella Senatore

From The Forest Theatre & Arts Festival

From the Forest is London’s newest theatre and arts festival, which took place in Waltham Forest from 21st June to 1st July. Starting out as a four day festival in a single venue in the Winter of 2016, the festival expanded to over 60 shows this year, spread across multiple venues over two weeks. Championing the creation of new performances in great venues, the festival aims to provide an affordable platform for artists to showcase their material. Anyone and everyone is welcome to apply to be a part of the festival.

Here are a few pictures and videos from our show.

From The Forest Festival - Otto Gumaelius & The Taste of Southern Africa
From The Forest Festival - Otto Gumaelius & The Taste of Southern Africa
From The Forest Festival - Otto Gumaelius & The Taste of Southern Africa
From The Forest Festival - Otto Gumaelius & The Taste of Southern Africa

The song we're playing in the clip above is a Tswana folk song called Mangwane Mpulele. It's sung in Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho.

The words are:

Mangwane mpulele, ke nelwa ke pula
Le ga dile pedi, le ga dile tharo, nka nyala mosadi

Heritage Zimbabwe Culture Day

My band and I spent the day in Coventry at a Zimbabwean culture day event. I shared some marimba songs with the young children and had a general jam towards the end of the afternoon with some of the attendees who grew up playing marimba in Zimbabwe. I find that's always the best part of these days out - meeting people who haven't played or seen a marimba in many years, and being able to give them the opportunity to reunite with the instruments and the songs. 

In the evening we got the pleasure of performing an hour long set for the attendees at the culture day event, before joining Stella Chiweshe on the stage. We performed two of her songs with her - Cha Chimurenga and Huya Uzoona. 

Here are a few pictures and videos from the day!

 Marimba workshop at Heritage Zimbabwe Culture Day

Marimba workshop at Heritage Zimbabwe Culture Day

 Combined marimba & dance workshop

Combined marimba & dance workshop

Wandsworth Arts Fringe

Here's a little taster from our show at Wandsworth Arts Fringe! It's a cover of a beautiful lullaby written by the late Chiwoniso Maraire for her children. The song is called Usacheme (Don't Cry).

Summer Gigs Alert!

Summer Gigs Alert!

Here are some of the places to you can catch my lovely band and I this summer! (Updated 24/05/18)

May 19th - Wandsworth Fringe Festival at St Mary's Church in Putney. Click here for tickets.

May 27 - Summer Gala at Goals Eltham. Click here for tickets.

May 30 - All Points East Festival, Bandstand, Victoria Park. Free entry.

June 2nd - #Heritage Zimbabwe Culture Show at Dunchurch Sportsfield and Village Hall in Rugby. Click here for more information.

June 17th - Victoria Park for Victoria Park Bandstand Season. 

June 23rd - Luna - Home of Live Music in Leytonstone.

June 30th - From The Forest Festival at Mirth, Marvel & Maud. Click here for tickets.

August 31st - One Love Festival at Gilcombe Farm in Somerset. Click here for tickets.

Otto Gumaelius & Taste of Southern Africa Marimba Band - Upcoming Shows

PanAfrik 2018 at Cadogan Hall

Friday night saw the marimba band and I performing our southern African music at the wonderful Cadogan Hall in Chelsea. I was last there a few years ago watching Sibongile Khumalo performing alongside Thandiswa Mazwai and Glora Bosman. What an honour it was to play on that same stage!

Here are a few pictures from the night:

Cadogan Hall London - Panafrik - Otto Gumaelius & Taste of Southern Africa Marimba Band 1.JPG
Cadogan Hall London - Panafrik - Otto Gumaelius & Taste of Southern Africa Marimba Band 2.JPG
Cadogan Hall London - Panafrik - Otto Gumaelius & Taste of Southern Africa Marimba Band 3.JPG
Cadogan Hall London - Panafrik - Otto Gumaelius & Taste of Southern Africa Marimba Band 4.JPG
Cadogan Hall London - Panafrik - Otto Gumaelius & Taste of Southern Africa Marimba Band 5.JPG
Cadogan Hall London - Panafrik - Otto Gumaelius & Taste of Southern Africa Marimba Band 6.JPG

©2018, Otto Gumaelius - Marimba Music From Southern Africa. All Rights Reserved.