The Wambara Newsletter

This page features the works and offerings of many different people from a variety of walks of life. We celebrate these people, their works, their specialties, and we include their emails and urls where possible. If you know anyone who you feel should be included in the Wambara Newsletter, please contact us here. Hope you enjoy this offering. Last updated 3/30/2006

SaraSinger/songwriter Sara Tavares belongs to a second generation of Africans on the rise in the Portuguese and international musical panorama. Her new album, Balancê's artistic sophistication transforms this Cape Verdean star into one of the most distinctive representatives of musical hybrids as expressed in Lisbon. Stripped of the superfluous, these songs are expressly organic and emotionally pure. Special guests are Júlio Pereira, Melo D, Boy Gê Mendes, André Cabaço, and Ana Moura.

Kelly Orphan 

Kelly Takunda Orphan has been on a long and wondrous musical journey beginning with her Armenian roots to the percussion driven music of West Africa, Zimbabwe and the Caribbean. This, her first recording, reveals a rare breed of musician who carefully and respectfully fuses together music of disparate cultures. The vocals are warm and lush—the rhythm tracks will make you want to dance!” You can reach her here.

Elias Negash

Elias' musical journey extends many decades that have taken him across many lands. Inspired by his mother who was also a pianist, Elias formed his first group in the 1960's.

Elias has had an eclectic musical background where he has combined his native Ethiopian music, with his Jazz education, and other influences from the world music segment. World.

He later made his television music debut with Murder She Wrote and Natalie Cole's Big Break productions. Elias was also the composer for the Soundtrack of the show Glitz starring Jimmy Smith and Markey Post with the Magyk band. To learn more, visit here

UnityNguyenUnity Nguyen, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist draws on many traditions from around the world. Her music weaves together various languages and instruments, including the dan tranh (16-string zither of Viet Nam); and the kora (21-string harp of West Africa). Visit the CALENDAR to catch a performance. Unity performs solo, or with various forms of her Unity Nguyen Ensemble. She also collaborates with a number of hot world music and dance groups.
Unity also shares her passion by teaching music-movement to diverse audiences. These classes range from several weekly programs for pre-schoolers, to drum workshops with youth at risk, to private lessons with adults.

Besides performing and teaching music, Unity holds a Master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Her email is here. Her website is here.


Larry Ukali Johnson Redd

Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd, born 1952, in San Francisco, CA, graduated from San Francisco’s Balboa High School in 1970 and entered University of San Francisco and received a B.A. in 1974 in Political Science and Ethnic Studies (African American). His quest for education continued at Golden Gate University in San Francisco where he received a Masters in Public Administration 1976 (MPA).

His latest books, History to Destiny through afro centric poetry and Loving Black Women are very popular. They can be found here.
For more information about Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd or his book, go to his website.

Opal Palmer Adisa, Ph.D

 Opal is a compassionate teacher, accomplished storyteller, gifted diversity trainer, and celebrated writer whose work is described by the novelist Alice Walker as “Solid, visceral, important stories written with integrity and love.”

Opal is an award winning poet, literary critic, prose writer, storyteller and artist, and is an internationally acclaimed lecturer and artist. This Jamaica-born writer is author of several books of poetry and stories for both adults and children; Leaf-of-Life is her most recent poetry collection, and her latest novel is entitled It Begins With Tears.

Her phone is 1 510 383-9883
You can visit her website here.

GloriaGloria Purter

Velvety Smooth is how she do it - Early in the morning her flow is hypnotic and fluid – late at night when the time is right – she rocks the party till the early light.

Sweet like herseys chocolate kisses – Her flow is melodic – it ‘taint missin. Comin’ straight fo your head – she brings her charm to the show. She’s velvety smooth all over the microphone.

Smooth like butta – so I’m told. Rich like diamonds, more solid than gold – smoothed out harmonies with lot’s of pizzazz. She’s velvety smooth funky-style jazz.

“Sometime ago I learned that I could write and that process would heal my wounds, strengthen my resolve, nurture my spirit and provide a window to what is inside of each of us – we share the human experience and I write” -Glo

Glo has been perfecting her funky style jazz around Sacramento nightspots for the past several years. She has performed at the Heritage Festival, the California State Fair, Mahogany Poetry Series, The Show Poetry Series, Luna’s Café, Featured on the Public Access Sacramento Show “Moore time for Poetry” Winner of the Jazz Artist of the Year SOS Music Awards 2001. LA Black Music Awards Show

Glo has performed solo and with several bands over the years. “Light Years” a contemporary gospel group, “The Payback” an R&B group patterning themselves after some of the soul artist of the 60’s and 70’s. Gladys Night and the Pips, Aretha Franklin, and James Brown to name a few. The “Bub Sextet” an acid jazz fusion group gave way to Glo coming out as a spoken word writer and artist. Most recently Glo is writing and performing with Capital City Artists Collective which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach out to the artist’s community and provide a nurturing environment and support for the artists’ development. She is working on her 2nd CD project soon to be released. The first project titled “Island Paradise” was well received.

Stay tuned for Glo: She’s a smooth operator! Gloria Purter's address: 1500 W El Camino Ave, #614, Sacramento, CA 95833 Her phone is 916-501-4641. Her e-mail is here.


Lura Lura

“Listen to Lura.” And then go and see her on stage, plunging herself body and soul into her art, pure Creole beauty with a startling voice. Although she says that her theatrical experience with the Plano Seis company has helped her greatly on stage, I am still convinced that her basic performing talent is innate.
It mainly lies in her passion and youthful energy, and – of course – the fantastic power of her truly unique voice, a gift she took years to accept. “I thought my voice was awful,” she says. “I was even ashamed to sing Happy Birthday.”

Born in Lisbon in 1975, she discovered her Cape Verdean identity (while remaining fully Portuguese) through the Creole she learnt with her friends at school. Today, she is proud to speak and write her songs in a deep Creole from the heart of the islands. As a child, she wanted to be a dancer. Later, she taught swimming. Finally, music drew her from the water. Unlucky for her pupils, but very fortunate for all of us who listen to her today.
Once, when the world was still limitless and enigmatic, nervous cartographers noted the legend “here be dragons” on the edges of their maps. As I look into the future – just as those ancient cartographers looked at the world – I can confidently write on Lura’s map “here be great light: the radiance of a great singer”.

To visit her site go here

Oumou Dioubate

Oumou Dioubate comes from Kankan, Guinea. Her mother was a well known Griotte and singer, and Oumou began singing at the age of 7. When the mother suddenly died Oumou, then 13, took her place in the traditional "Kankan Ensemble". The teenager then married a relative who was a teacher and musician, and the couple moved to Conakry, Guinea's capitol. There they formed the band, Les Messagers de Morfing, and Oumou began to develop a more modern singing style. Many believe she went too far with her modernity, but Oumou Dioubate had decided to go her own way and, in the mid 1980s, relocated to Paris. It was there that she had her breakthrough as a backing singer for Ismael Lo, on his "N'Diawar" album.

The producer Ibrahim Sylla heard her and decided to make a solo album with her ("Lancey" – Sterns Africa). The album was a great success in Guinea in the 1990s when, after a long pause, it was finally released. The reason for the delay was Oumou Dioubate's provocative lyrics. She sings, among other things, that she will perform a traditional dance - naked - in order to become pregnant. When she returned from Paris it was impossible for her to live together with her husband. She earned sufficient money from "Lancey" to enable her to buy a new house for herself and her child.

Oumou Dioubate is a much discussed and disputed artist in Guinea and has had to withstand many rumors and personal attacks for her modern and open style. For more information, go here.


Anna Maria Flechero

Even though she was raised by her grandmother, Big Mama, singer/songwriter Anna Maria was heavily influenced by her mother, Leola, a pianist and choir leader for several local churches. She was also influenced by the remarkable voices she heard coming from these choirs. This music would be the beginning of Anna Maria’s musical journey.

As a child, Anna Maria’s mother always encouraged her to sing, play the piano and perform in church plays. Her song, Just Because, was inspired by her mother.

To visit her website, go here.

Emmanuel Nado
           Echoes of Africa

NadoWelcome to Echoes of Africa radio station 91.5 KKUP.
The program is an exciting weekly 3 hour radio music magazine that features and highlights African music in all its forms and styles. This long running program is a staple of KKUP programming. Hosted by Emmanuel Nado, a native of Cote d'Ivoire West Africa, Echoes of Africa is aired every Monday afternoon beginning at 3pm. Nado brings to KKUP listeners an informative and musical experience from the continent that never stands still. Africa's musical influence on the world is without question. The myriad of sounds and styles out of Africa are heard on Echoes of Africa. When you tune in each week you'll be part of a musical journey that takes you through the heart of Africa. Our mission here is to entertain as well educate the listeners.

The first hour begins with traditional music from various regions of the continent; music played on indigenous instruments, rituals and a variety of ceremonial songs and music are spotlighted.
The second hour features news from the continent with the perspectives of the African Diaspora, information from the communities, interviews of touring and/or local African artists, and cultural happenings in and around the U.S.

The last segment of the program is devoted to the current dance music scenes. When you tune in at this time you'll hear the latest South African street beat of Kwaito and you'll hear Mbanquanga, the music that energized many of the liberation movements in southern Africa. Congolese lightening guitar music called Soukous, along with its new version Ndombolo, travels to the feet of listeners as they hear the foremost exponents of the style Koffi Olomide, Wenga Musica, Extra Musica, Soukous Stars and a host of Congolese bands doing their things. You'll also hear Africa's! number one rumbero Sam Mangwana. To visit his site, go here.

Ken BladyEducator, writer, and translator, Ken Blady was born in Paris, France, and grew up in Hassidic Brooklyn, where he attended yeshiva and rabbinical seminary. A San Francisco Bay Area resident since 1972, Ken has a B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.A. in Clinical Counseling from California State University, Hayward. He is the author of "The Jewish Boxers' Hall of Fame," "Jewish Communities in Exotic Places”; and translator of "The Journeys of David Toback."

A popular lecturer on a variety of Jewish themes at colleges, synagogues, elder hostels, and adult educational institutions, Ken has been featured on a number of radio and T.V. talk shows, most recently on The History Channel documentary, "Operation Magic Carpet," which deals with the airlift of the Jews of Yemen to Israel.

He is currently a lecturer in Jewish History on the faculty of the University of Judaism's Department of Continuing Education and Shurgin Elder Hostel Program.

Ken lectures extensively on a variety of African Jewish communities, including the Beta Israel of Ethiopia, the Berber Jews of North Africa, the Lemba of Zimbabwe and the Abayudaya of Uganda.

His website is here, and he can be emailed here.

SambaMessage from Samba Ngo Manu at Africa No. 1 in Paris.

Dear Friends,
After spending the past four months in Paris, I have returned to the Bay Area! Living again in Paris was a fantastic. Not only was I able to spend time with old friends--and wonderful new friends--I performed with my new band (based in Paris), worked on my upcoming cd, and finished a compilation of my music that will be released shortly.

I especially want to thank my hosts, Christian and Robert Brazza and Donny Mahoukou, for their generosity and bon humor. Christian, Robert and Donny are young Congolese men, born and raised in Paris, and doing great things for African musicians in Europe. I'm proud of their commitment to African music and thankful for their support. Merci beaucoup, Christian, Robert and Donny!
I also want to thank my good friend Lokua Kanza for his exceptional company; if you haven't heard his latest release, Plus Vivant, you must. Hear a clip by going here.

Please help celebrate my return home by coming to Ashkenaz on Saturday, January 21. And please check my schedule once and awhile for upcoming shows.

I'd love to see you!
- Samba


Anna Maria Flechero

Elias Negash

Emmanuel Nado

Gloria Purter

Kelly Takunda Orphan

Ken Blady

Larry Johnson Redd


Opal Palmer Adisa

Oumou Dioubate

Samba Ngo

Unity Nguyen


Regina Nacro

Sara Tavares