Many of the Twin Cities finest World & New Music performers collaborated on this recently released album. Congratulations to all – we’re glad you’re part of this thriving community!

RIVERS – from the Congo to the Mississippi

Siama Matuzungidi left home at 17, his guitar strapped to his back. Music has since carried him across Africa, from his home in rural Congo (then Zaire) to the capital Kinshasa, then to Uganda, and eventually to Nairobi, Kenya. Along the way, he played with some of the biggest names in soukous, including Kanda Bongo Man, Sam Mangwana, Moni Mambo with Shika Shika, Lovy Longomba, Tshala Muana and Samba Mapangala with Virunga. As a prolific studio musician, Siama laid down a string of radio hits still enjoyed by soukous fans today, playing on more than a hundred singles. His own songs, tales of love, desire, and betrayal, feature his knack for catchy tunes and wry twists of humor.

Now based in the Twin Cities, Siama gathered together a diverse community of Minnesota-based master musicians from across the globe to transform his modern take on traditional Congolese music and soukous via the emigre experience on Rivers (International release: June 10, 2016; Minneapolis release: May 31, 2016, 7:30-10pm at Cedar Cultural Center). Glittering guitar and gorgeous vocal harmonies meet an array of surprises, including Carnatic Indian singer and veena virtuoso Nirmala Rajasekar, renowned gospel singer JD Steele, master Tibetan multi-instrumentalist Tenzen Ngawang, classical cellist Jacqueline Ultan and Joe Savage on a mean pedal steel. With Siama at the helm, these combinations click into place, defying expectations.

“I invited musicians to share what they feel when they hear my music,” muses Matuzungidi. “I didn’t tell them what to play. I just encouraged them to express themselves in their own way. The music still sounds like home but they’ve added so many cool ideas to it.”

Read more & get the album

Songs written and arranged by: SIAMA MATUZUNGIDI


Engineered by: STEVE KAUL – Wild Sound Studio

Mastered by: GREG REIERSON – Rare Form

Siama (voice/guitar)

Nirmala Rajasekar (voice/veena)

JD Steele (voice and vocal harmonies)

Tenzin Ngawang (voice/flute/dranyen)

Jacqueline Ultan (cello)

Joe Savage (pedal steel)

Bobby J Marks (trumpet)

Tony Axtell (bass)

Brian Ziemniak (piano & Hammond B3)

Greg Schutte (drums)

Tim O’Keefe (percussion)

Zacc Harris (guitar)

Dallas Johnson (vocal harmonies)

Photography & Styling: DALLAS JOHNSON

Graphic design – ONA BENOIT

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