Musa Okwonga is a poet, journalist and musician based in Berlin. The son of refugees from Idi Amin’s Uganda, he studied law at Oxford University before leaving a career as a City-trained solicitor to become a poet. The winner of the 1996 WHSmith Young Writers Competition, he is the author of two books about football, A Cultured Left Foot (Duckworths) and Will You Manage? (Serpent’s Tail): the first of which was nominated for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.
A journalist and commentator on various issues, he has written opinion pieces and features for several outlets, including The New Statesman, Al-Jazeera, Foreign Policy, The Guardian and MONOCLE. In 2014 he co-wrote and presented “The Burden of Beauty”, the BBC World Service’s flagship documentary for its World Cup coverage. A vocalist who has been described by Q Magazine as „a globe-trotting Mike Skinner“, Musa ’s music has been played by BBC Radio One, BBC6 Music and Xfm. His debut release – „The Nomadic“, a four-track electronic EP on the theme of migration – was praised by leading websites Okayafrica, Complex UK and The 405, from whom it received a rating of 8/10. He has just published “Eating Roses for Dinner”, a collection to mark his first ten years as a poet.
“Kelele”, a band of eleven, formed in the spring of 2013 around lead singer Abass Ndiaje. These Berlin-based musicians, who are already known from other projects such as “Dub Engineers” and “Wood On Di Fire”, interweave funk, reggae and traditional African rhythms into their very own, distinctive sound.
Singer Abass writes his lyrics in Wolof, his Senegalese mother tongue, in order to express his views and emotions as authentically and free of cliché as possible. These lyrics negotiate individual life experiences, political grievances and stories of love and spirituality.
Kelele’s music is a meeting place for vocal lines reminiscent of traditional griot singing as well as reggae and raga style on souly lines of bright brass sections; in combination with hip-hop and ska elements, this creates something absolutely unique.