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.

A Few Days in Beautiful Norway

I've just returned from a small town called Nesbyen in the Norwegian mountains with my colleague Beatrice Muzenda. We traveled there to collaborate on a music performance with Jimu Makurumbandi and his band, Dandemutande, at the final show of Kulturkrydde in Gol. 

It has been quite an interesting week, mostly because it was the first time seeing a southern African musician take on the Kora, a west African instrument, and adapt some of our folk songs to it. Jimu's philosophy questions why we as Africans think that outside of our own cultures, it's only ever western / classical instruments we can learn. Why not learn another African instrument? I found this incredibly interesting - and it surely was a treat to be apart of his show.

We spent several focused, but relaxed, days preparing the repertoire before finally doing a full run through on the Sunday in preparation for the big show on Monday evening. We sang a mix of Shona folk songs as well as Jimu's own music. There was acapella singing, mbira, kora, marimba and drumming - and the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy our performance.

Apart from the beautiful music we got to be a part of, the clean air and beautiful mountains were also an absolute treat! We went hiking up one of the mountains one evening, and didn't get back home till about 1am - at which point it still wasn't completely dark!

Norway was a really great experience and I look forward to my next visit!

 Posing for a picture with the band after the show

Posing for a picture with the band after the show

 Our stage set up at the concert

Our stage set up at the concert

 We saw a field with lamas on our way to the airport and had to stop for a picture!

We saw a field with lamas on our way to the airport and had to stop for a picture!

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