Okavango African Orchestra 12 instruments, 10 languages, 7 countries

Winners of the 2017 Juno Award for best world music album

“It’s obvious that Okavango respects the continent’s myriad musical traditions. It’s in the glorious mix of rhythms in their songs,”

Okavango African Orchestra features a cast of eight accomplished African-born musicians: Donne Roberts (guitar, vocals-Madagascar), Sadio Sissokho (kora, djembe, tama, vocals-Senegal), Kofi Ackah (percussion, vocals-Ghana), Daniel Nebiat (krar, vocals-Eritrea), Tichaona Maredza (marimba, nyunga-nyunga, vocals-Zimbabwe), Kooshin (kaban, vocals-Somalia), Ebenezer Agyekum (bass-Ghana) and Nicolas Simbananiye (vocals-Burundi).

The orchestra takes its name from the Okavango Delta, a basin in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, where many different animal species come together to feed and find water. Predators and prey are forced to coexist and share the meager resources because of the harsh environment around them. Similarly, Okavango: An African Orchestra brings together the traditional music and instruments of several major African cultures that historically have had little or no interaction. The musicians of Okavango have created a common meeting place for these cultures, and a new musical language that harmonizes their different tuning systems, rhythms, and timbres. The musicians and instruments of Okavango represent a continuum of traditions and cultures from time immemorial to the present day. The spirit of modern-day Canada bridges ancient African solitudes.

Okavango African Orchestra looks ahead on its continuing journey to an “Africa without borders… before the borders were created”.