DeKALB – The Northern Illinois University Afropop Ensemble, led by Mathew Tembo, will present a concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, in the Recital Hall of the Music Building, 300 Lucinda Ave. in DeKalb.
A graduate student at NIU, Tembo is a well-known Afropop musician from Zambia, Central Africa. He takes music straight from the villages of Zambia and blends it with the modern sounds of the NIU Afropop Ensemble to create a truly unique style. Tembo’s handmade silimba (Zambian marimba) and kalimba (thumb piano) provide the backbone for the songs. The ensemble adds texture and depth with keyboards, guitar, bass, horns and percussion.
Tembo has created his own genre of music that fuses reggae, jazz and traditional Zambian rhythms. He has been compared to African music heavyweight Thomas Mapfumo of Zimbabwe, as well as the late South African reggae icon Lucky Dube.