Zambian-Scottish singer and songwriter – Namvula, creates a relaxed, lively atmosphere that transports her listeners on a musical journey through her heritage; the intimate venue of Canada Water’s Cultural Space was the stage for Namvula and her band to treat their audience to a harmony of Zambian Afro-folk, jazz and latin rhythms.


Their performance began with the soulful ‘Maweo’ sung in Lenje, Namvula’s native language spoken in central Zambia. It was followed by a song written for her niece with a message “to sing your song and dance your dance with your face to the sun and your back to the troubles”.

Namvula as a live performer engages with her audience by openly sharing the inspirations behind each song thus deepening the experience of her music. Her inspirations include her Zambian heritage and the strength of women. In her song Nsalamo, she tells a story about her great grandmother who had the courage to escape her abusive husband and walk across Zambia to find refuge.


The impressive connection between Namvula and her band was great to watch. As the night progressed, the intensity of music changed from gentle ballads to uplifting afro-jazz with the help of Chris Williams playing the saxophone, Yuval Wetzler on drums, Greg Sanders on guitar and Ofer Wetzler on bass. The playful atmosphere heightened with every song, culminating with Namvula’s biggest fan – a charming 8 year old girl taking to stage to sing with her – leaving the audience enamored. The night came to a close with incredible solos from the band members and a barefoot Namvula stepping off the stage to dance along with her audience.

Namvula Rennie was at Canada Water, Culture Space as part of the London African Music Festival 2016. The festival ends Saturday 24th September.


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