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.

Filtering by Category: Workshops

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 :)

Taste of Southern Africa Cultural Arts Festival

I'm very excited to be two weeks away from the launch of Taste of Southern Africa Cultural Arts Festival on October 21st. This two day festival is aimed at sharing the cultural arts of southern Africa with the UK during Black History Month.

It'll be a great opportunity to try out something new, make new friends, and share in the colourful culture of southern Africa.

We've got a great line up of dance and music workshops and a fantastic concert to round off the day.

Tickets are available from: www.tasteofsouthernafrica.com/tickets 

Taste of Southern Africa Cultural Arts Festival

The Battersea Power Station Midnight Run

In August I had the honour of being a part of The Midnight Run - a walking, arts-filled, night-time cultural journey through a city. It gathers strangers and local artists/activists to explore, play and create whilst the city sleeps.

Here's a highlights video of the Battersea edition of the Midnight Run, which I took part in. My bit is near the end of the video.

South African Heritage Day Celebrations in Wimbledon Park

South African Diaspora UK hosted a lovely get together in Wimbledon Park this past weekend to mark South African Heritage Day, also known as Braai Day. I had the honour of taking part and got to give a small performance with my niece, after which I set up my marimbas on the side and let the kids have a go too.

Afrotake Media put the following short video together to cover some of the day's events:

Otto Gumaelius - SA Heritage Day
Otto Gumaelius - SA Heritage Day
Otto Gumaelius - SA Heritage Day

Fête de la Musique in Paris

The 21st of June is World Music Day - and it's a day that's spectacularly celebrated in Paris as musicians flood the streets to share their music with the city. In France, the day goes by the name Fête de la Musique, and this year it was an absolute pleasure to join forces with ex Zimba Marimba Band musician, Fredrik Andersson, who has set up a marimba business in Paris called Kudzana Marimba. Anna Wolanska and Sophie Nilsson, also former Zimba Marimba Band members, came over as well from Sweden, and together we refreshed and revitalised all the old songs we used to play.

On the Wednesday of Fête de la Musique we did a total of three performance-workshop slots; all in the bustling Parisian suburb of Clichy. Our first slot was at Place des Martyrs, where we got to share our music with many young children who were eager to try it out themselves.

 Marimba workshops with the young children of Clichy

Marimba workshops with the young children of Clichy

We then packed up and headed to Café KAMU, where we did an hour slot and a short workshop, which at one point had to be paused as we came under attack by an onslaught of water guns! The cool water being squirted into the air would have otherwise been a lovely carefree moment, had we not had wooden instruments in front of us which are sensitive to water! But after a few quick wipe downs we were back on track!

 Performing at Café KAMU

Performing at Café KAMU

After our brief stop over at Café KAMU, we packed up and headed to our final stop for the day where we played our final set outside Café du Parc. We managed to draw quite a large crowd and everyone seemed to enjoy our southern African music! 

 Final workshop for the day outside Café du Parc! 

Final workshop for the day outside Café du Parc! 

We played a total of 7 hours and were quite glad to get home after an otherwise very successful day! We took it easy over the next two days and did a bit of sightseeing and hanging out. On our last night together in Paris we did one more show, at Le Coq Noir, a lovely African restaurant in Clichy.   

 Delicious dinner at Le Coq Noir before our final performance

Delicious dinner at Le Coq Noir before our final performance

Below you can see a short video of our set up at Le Coq Noir. In the video, we're performing Gandanga, a song from Zimbabwe about the freedom fighters of the independence struggle. 

Our show at Le Coq Noir was the perfect end to a lovely week in Paris! Hopefully we'll be back next year to share more southern African marimba music!

For more information about marimba workshops in Paris, visit www.kudzanamarimba.com

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