We had the great honour of bringing a taste of southern African culture to my friend’s wedding in Cambridge over the weekend. A huge congratulations to the guys on their union!
Filtering by Category: Performances
We had a lovely time on Friday headlining the April edition of Global Beats Club which was held at Juju’s Bar & Stage off Bricklane. Here are a few pictures taken from the night.
It’s not everyday you get a call from someone who went to primary school with your brother in Botswana over 20 years ago asking you if your band is available to perform at his wedding!
It was such an honour to be part of Jeyanthan and Thanuka’s wedding celebration! We wish them every happiness in their life together!
Here are a few pictures from our show at Luna in Leytonstone this past Friday! It was a great night with a great crowd as always!
On Saturday my band and I were invited to perform at Focus Africa’s Pop Brixton take over - a lovely day of African live music, workshops and DJs. I was invited to teach an mbira workshop, which ended up including a bit of a marimba and singing workshop too. My band, Otto & The Mutapa Calling, gave a performance as well.
Here are a few pictures and videos from the mbira workshop I gave on the day.
Last night my band Otto & The Mutapa Calling had the immense pleasure of performing at our first ever Global Beats Club hosted at Hootananny in Brixton. We were co support with Bamako Overground, with Afrikan Boy headlining the night.
Here are a few pictures from our night at Hootananny.
Last night I was invited to play a few songs on the mbira at this month’s edition of Exiled Writers Ink hosted at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. It was a lovely evening of African poetry with contributors from Ethiopia, Congo and Zimbabwe to name but a few. I played one of my songs, Dineo, as well as two Shona folk songs from Zimbabwe - Zvichapera and Amai naBaba.
On Saturday 17th November, Otto & The Mutapa Calling officially launched their debut album, Mvura Ichanaya, at Grow Hackney in east London. The album is a self produced 9 track album that was recorded in London and includes acoustic marimba, mbira, drumming and singing. It is a colourful collection of folk melodies from across southern Africa.
The opening track, and the title track of the album, Mvura Ichanaya is an adaptation of a Shona harvest song. The lyrics say “this is the year the rains shall come” – and expresses through African metaphorical speech the hope for good things to come.
The second track is Dineo, an original Setswana song written by Otto which is addressed to parents, reminding them that the talents of their children come in different forms, and those less academically gifted should never be given up on.
The third song on the album is Mhondoro, an adaptation of a Karanga rain making song which was inspired by the passing of a family member.
Mancube is next on the album, and is a traditional Ndebele song named after a man’s wife who has gone missing. The man seeks the assistance of a traditional healer to find her whereabouts.
Hondo, track five on the album, is a Shona folk song and the lyrics sung on this recording are a combination of traditional lines and slightly more modern lyrics adopted in the early 1980s during the time of independence. The lyrics celebrate the fact that independence was won because people went out and fought for it. The song closes with some soft mbira playing, bringing it back to its traditional origin and sound.
Ke Ne Kele Kae is sixth on the album and another one of Otto’s original songs. The song is a reminder to young people not to neglect their homes and families as they progress in life.
Track seven is the popular Sotho gospel song, Hlonolofatsa – a song that was made popular in the early 2000s by a musician called Ishmael, and is sung and recognised right across southern Africa.
Gandanga is a Shona song from the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe where the freedom fighters sang to remind the villagers whom they sought refuge amongst that they deserved more than just scraps to eat.
And lastly, the album closes with the upbeat farming song Kusarima – a song which encourages people to pick up their tools and help farm the land.
The 9 track album is a starting point for the London based marimba band as they look forward to showing the world more on future recordings. Mvura Ichanaya is a perfect album for anyone looking to sample a diverse taste of southern African folk songs and rhythms. The album can be purchased from this website in physical or digital form here, or downloaded from major online stores such as iTunes, GooglePlay and Amazon.
About The Band
Otto & The Mutapa Calling is a lively London based marimba band playing energetic, joyful music from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, including folk songs, original songs and popular southern African covers. The band's set-up includes soprano, tenor and baritone marimbas, mbira, hosho, drumming and singing, with both traditional and contemporary dances. The marimba band’s sound is full of energy and pulsating rhythms - and their music shares the rich cultures, histories and stories of the people of southern Africa. Otto & The Mutapa Calling is a unique and colourful experience and is the only active professional marimba band of its kind in all of Europe.
Telephone: 0751 550 8934
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 & The Mutapa Calling had the great honour of entertaining attendees at the recent Botswana Independence Day celebrations in London. The day comprised mainly of networking and was hosted at the lovely Wesley Euston Hotel & Conference Venue in central London.
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 was in full force on Wednesday night at Century in central London for Mbulelo Ndabeni’s interactive performance fundraiser night, I AM [ ] WE ARE [ ].
Here are a few pictures and videos from our lovely night in Soho.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are a few pictures from the lovely night shot by Robert Piwko.
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.
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
Here are some pictures from our Make Music Day UK show at the Scoop yesterday!
It was a cold and cloudy day today, but we enjoyed playing at the launch of the summer bandstand season in Victoria Park!
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!