"Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground” ~ Rumi
Moved by life - by its beauty and ugliness, its creativity, its tenderness and cruelty, and the power of the stories that it holds, both simple and complex, Namvula sees music and photography as mirrors to what she sees. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. You can find out a little bit more about her journey below..
Namvula pens emotive and thought-provoking songs. She sings about the beauty and ugliness of life, its creativity, its tenderness and cruelty, and the power of the stories that it holds, both simple and complex. Her music invites listeners to join her on this journey of introspection and connection. Her admiration for the strong women who populate her lineage has informed her interest in and sensitivity to broader politics including feminism, the climate emergency, and migration.
Having grown up in four different continents, listening to anything from Miriam Makeba and Cassandra Wilson, to Wayne Shorter and the Counting Crows, it is unsurprising that Namvula’s songwriting is informed by a broad range of musical influences.
Namvula has collaborated and shared the stage with artists including the late legendary South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, multi-award-winning Zambian singer Maureen Lilanda, and sitarist Anoushka Shankar.
Namvula’s debut album, Shiwezwa, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim, including being selected as one of The Sunday Times’ top 100 albums of the year. This was followed by her 2017 concept album, Quiet Revolutions, dubbed “a contemporary masterpiece” by Jazz FM. UK airplay has included Women’s Hour (Radio 4), Cerys Matthews (Radio 6), Late Junction (Radio 4), Loose Ends (Radio 4), Focus on Africa, and Music Planet (Radio 3).
Supported by a band “packed to the rafters with talent” (Max Reinhardt / BBC Late Junction) that includes Mercury-nominated bassist and producer Liran Donin and drummer Yuval Wetzler (Sona Jobarteh), Namvula has toured extensively. She has headlined and played on the main stages of numerous leading festivals including Africa Festival Würzburg, Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, and Shambala Festival.
Namvula is passionate about encouraging African artists to step up onto global platforms. As the co-founder of Film Africa, London's largest celebration of African cinema and culture, she has played a pivotal role in promoting the diverse creative voices of the African continent and its diaspora. In her work as a creative music-making workshop facilitator for groups of all ages, Namvula puts into action her belief in the transformative power of music to uplift, heal and engage.
At the core, Namvula is a storyteller with an over-arching hope in our capacity as humans to touch each other’s hearts and to fill the world with a little more grace, and a little more love.
Namvula’s new EP ‘All Shades of the Sun’ is released on Friday 29th September 2023. The 5-track EP places under a musical lens urgent issues that confront us, including the rise of right-wing nationalism, the climate crisis, the Black Lives Matter movement, consumerism and political apathy, ultimately appealing to our common humanity in these distressed times.
* * * * A true original ~ The Guardian
* * * * Melodies that speak to the heart ~ Sunday Times
Namvula is a singer and songwriter whose artistic journey is an exploration of cultural intersections and heartfelt storytelling. Her music reflects the nuances and complexities of her mixed Zambian and Scottish heritage, and a restlessness born of her diasporic upbringing.
Weaving together a global soundscape that takes inspiration from the deep grooves of Africa, the lyrical sensibility of folk-pop, and the improvisational freedom of jazz, Namvula transports listeners into different worlds with refreshing honesty, crossing boundaries with sonic sensitivity and evocative lyricism.
PHOTOGRAPHY Every story and experience is complex and individual, but, ultimately, it is human. As such, she has worked largely as an independent issues-based photographer; her work has been published in magazines and on websites including The Africa Report, Songlines magazine, Le Monde (AP), the New York Times (AP), theWashington Post online (AP) and the BBC. Work for development and publicity campaigns includes the UN-IPC Humanizing Development global photography campaign (with 2010 global tour), the International Rescue Committee, and Student Partnership Worldwide. She has also photographed for theatre shows, musicians and touring companies. Now and then, she also holds solo exhibition. Please get in touch if you’d like to buy a print.