Amandla Poets

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A diverse range of African traditions is incorporated into the electrifying sounds of the Amandla Poets. Led by Cape Town-born vocalist Dumile Sadiqa Vokwana and Palestine, Texas-born songwriter, arranger,…
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Artist Biography by

A diverse range of African traditions is incorporated into the electrifying sounds of the Amandla Poets. Led by Cape Town-born vocalist Dumile Sadiqa Vokwana and Palestine, Texas-born songwriter, arranger, vocalist, and choreographer Eloise Burrell, the group creates what www.dot25.com described as "a blend of South African township jive, Jamaican reggae, American R&B, and funky new jack swing." While www.metroactive.com praised them for their "invigorating music, colorful costumes and eye-popping choreography," www.scintillapro.com claimed they "will stop you dead in your tracks with their infectious South African reggae grooves and stroke your heart and soul with their sweet vocal harmonies and energetic dance combinations."

Politically active as a college student when she was involved with a variety of revolutionary groups, including the Black Panther Party, Burrell is one of the Bay Area's busiest artists. In addition to working with the Amandla Poets, she performs with Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Choir and has performed and/or recorded with the Neville Brothers, Santana, Taj Mahal, Al Green, Etta James, John Hardy, Buddy Miles, Kotoja, Zulu Spear, Third World, and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. Born in the small South African township of Guguletu, Vokwana performed with the South Africa a cappella group Zulu Harmony and appeared in a number of musical productions presented at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. The remaining members of the Amandla Poets represent a cross range of diasporan Africans. Lead and rhythm guitarist and high tenor vocalist Ron Van Leeuwaarde was born in Surinam, South America, and was a founding member of Zulu Spear, with whom he performed from 1988 until 1994. Piano, keyboard, and synthesizer player Elias Negash is descended from Ethiopian ancestry. The group's horn section features an Israeli saxophone player, Tal Varon, and a Toronto-born trumpet player, Darren Johnson. Drummer Manners Iteinne is a native of Nigeria.