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Mama Afrika

by Judith Bwire

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about

Over the past decade, multi-talented artiste, Judith Bwire aka Mama Afrika, has curved her niche as a regular performer during concerts staged in Kenyan capital – Nairobi’s fast evolving music scene.

Judith’s music career took root upon graduation from elementary high school, when she started singing and dancing as a member of different church choirs.

Along the way on her musical journey, the artiste has risen through numerous odds and is now ranked among Kenya’s established neo-traditional and Afro-fusion music makers.

After successive years of performances as a dancer and background vocalist, singing behind the shadows of other musicians, she boldly stepped out into the spotlight as an artiste in her own right.

Besides being a professional choreographer, Judith managed to transform her artistic abilities, taking on bold and radical shift in pursuit of a recording career.

Subsequently, tapping into her creative capabilities – she learnt to compose and create music with the nyatiti – an eight-string [kamba nane] lyre commonly used in the Luo community.

The recording of her debut 1o-track album titled Mama Afrika – marked the dawn of the journey to mould her captivating prowess as a skilled vocalist.

As she embarks on her journey driven by desire to perform on global music podiums, Judith has gleaned enormous live concerts and stage presence experience. “I like to sing, talk and laugh. I’m passionate about making my music – I express this gratitude and joy I feel to my audiences. There are moments when on stage as an artiste, you close your eyes and let the music flow,” she says.

Her subsequent travels across globe bore fruit as the dance singer picked up assorted elements from different cultures – an aspect evident in her songs.

As a dance choreographer, she has showcased outstanding artistic prowess during numerous live concerts and festivals in venues across different parts of the globe.

Early this year, Judith earned an invite to Germany to participate as a performer for the stage production developed within the framework of the project Shifting Realities event held in Germany and Morocco.

Participants comprised a collective of contemporary dancers, choreographers and musicians drawn from different African and Europe countries, inclusive of Senegal, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Germany.

The tour took place between January and February in Dusseldorf and Hellerau in Dresden, Germany. A month later, the showcase shifted in March to the week-long International Contemporary Dance Festival held in Marrakech, Morocco.

The artiste also featured prominently at the Mitumba-A-Happening series of dance and musical shows staged in Cologne, Germany, Tanzania and Kenya.

Locally, Judith has in the past been nominated for the Kisumu Awards Afro-Fusion Artiste of the Year and Benga Artiste of the Year. She is credited with performances at the Kikwetu, Sawa Sawa festivals and Human Trafficking concert, among other events held in Nairobi.

Her live concerts are notably interactive, and often entail engaging and enticing the crowd to share and participate throughout the performance.
Background:

Her interest in music took root during childhood, growing up in a household where her Dad was a promoter and DJ sound system proprietor.

His musical preferences hinged on an array of Rhumba compositions by East African bands i.e Orchestra Lipua Lipua, Super Mazembe, Les Mangelepa, Simba Wanyika and Orchestra Virunga among others.
Judith would also enjoy listening to songs by West and Central African musicians like Sam Magwana, Franco Luambo Makiadi, Sam Fan Thomas, Mbilia Bel and the late Brenda Fassie.

On several instances, she accompanied traditional Luo music band Kenge Kenge Orutu System during their showcase at the Womad Festival 2010 in Spain and later at the International Spring Festival – Israel.

Judith featured as a background vocalist /dancer for Kenge Kenge Orutu System band at the Malaysia World Music Festival in Penang city [2008]. Her next stop was Roskilde festival in Denmark, and the Roots Festival Amsterdam, Holland [2008].

She also graced the World of Music, Art and Dance (WOMAD) Festival in London’s Charlton Park 2008 as back-up singer/dancer.

In 2006, she was enlisted for the Swedish Eastern Africa Choreographers Encounter Workshop facilitated by East Africa Theatre Institute [EATI] in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The event was co-ordinated by the Performing Artists Cooperation Sweden & East Africa [PACSEA].

Between 2003 and 2006, Judith toured Japan, engaged for dance laboratory series of performances alongside the Giriama Africa troupe.

In 2004, the dancer/singer pitched tent for a month at the Chaoyang International Pop Music Festival, in Beijing joining artists drawn from nine [9] African countries.

Currently:

Over the past several months, Judith has been working on finalizing a string of songs for both the studio and video recordings of her second album tentatively slated for release later this year or early next year.

She has also set up Judith Bwire Foundation [JBF] – a non-governmental organization tailored as a vehicle to give back to the society in support of grassroots initiatives and projects aimed at the empowerment of the girl child and women.

Through proposed programs, JBF’s core objectives will seek to provide educational opportunities that respect the autonomy of the woman, accommodate special needs, and address their physical as well emotional aspects.

Judith is passionate about absolute provision of an enabling and secure environment conducive for the all-round socio-economic development of women and the girl child!

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released January 1, 2016

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Judith Bwire Nairobi, Kenya

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Track Name: Rivero
Vocals: Judith Bwire
Guitar: Tobby Imani
Bass / keyboards: Charles ‘Chao’ Otieno
Drums: Mathew Rabala