Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Music Minute: Land of Yangalele

With their lively interactive world music concerts and “instrument petting zoos” around the Twin Cities, Congolese-American artist “Papa Siama” Matuzungidi and singer/emcee “Auntie Dallas” Johnson are introducing children to African culture, rhythms and music. Inspired by happy experiences with their growing young fan base, Siama and Dallas will release an album of new original rumba songs and rhythms called Land of Yangalele this spring.

Congolese guitar man Siama (“see-AHmah”) enjoyed a prolific soukous career in Africa during the 1970s and ‘80s. Over his two decades in the United States, Siama has emerged as one of Minnesota’s foremost voices of global roots music. His intricate guitar style, spirited vocals and feel-good songs make him a crowd favorite. Dallas Johnson’s robust background in music, storytelling and community arts organizing makes their all-ages shows distinctly educational and interactive as well as entertaining.

The album is fun and high-energy, introducing kids and families to African culture. Lyrics are in English, Swahili, Lingala, and Kikongo, and includes instruments like balafon, mbira, rumba box, and conga drums. There are a variety of themes explored - animals, family, learning, peace, freedom, and more.
The colorful album liner notes include lyrics and guitar chords, a glossary (“Yangalele” means happiness in Kikongo), an African map, pictures of instruments, and a fun quiz to enhance the educational fun relating to these 10 tracks. Discover more and download the lyrics and a coloring page by award-winning cover illustrator Kayla Harren at SiamaMusic.com.
Land of Yangalele is available directly from SiamaMusic.com now, and it will be available from various retailers on March 23. Music videos and several public family concerts are planned at Twin Cities libraries and community venues this spring.
Watch a special Twin Cities PBS program about Siama’s life and music here or watch him playing mbira with singing birds near the headwaters of the Mississippi River on his YouTube channel.

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