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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

African Group Releases Christmas Song Written by Canadian

Zimbabwe’s Black Umfolosi has recorded Christmas Song, which was written by Canadian poet and songwriter, Bob Jensen. Black Umfolosi was formed in 1982 and is one of Africa’s most popular recording and touring groups, selling out concert halls the world over. Bob Jensen is originally from New Brunswick, Canada and currently lives on Prince Edward Island.

Black Umfolosi recorded the song as part of a project Jensen calls, Other Voices, which has dozens of artists from five continents performing his music and poetry. Participants include Sylvia Tyson, NYC Bluesman Guy Davis, former John Lennon bandmate, Rod Davis and Australia’s Shane Howard.

The concept of Other Voices is to have artists with different cultural backgrounds and perspectives perform the material to see how it affects it. Christmas Song is set in Red Deer, Alberta in the chilly month of November, but in the current version, is sung a cappella in heavy Zimbabwean accents.

Black Umfolosi will release an entire album of Jensen’s poetry, which they have worked into a cappella songs, in February of 2021.

Formed by school friends in 1982, Black Umfolosi has been thrilling audiences for 35 years with its exciting blend of African dance and beautifully-crafted a capella singing. The group has toured most parts of the world establishing itself as a true African musical ambassador. Black Umfolosi’s trademark harmonies mixed with intricate rhythms, clicking and clapping are highlighted during brilliantly choreographed shows. The group’s famous Gumboot Dances showcase the traditional styles and rituals of the South African mining regions and are a particular crowd pleaser.

Canadian born and bred Bob Jensen has a lifetime of writing under his belt. In his youth he was a traveling folk singer and made one recording called First Time Since August, and later went on to write the award-winning novel, Matchbox Funeral. He has collaborated on songwriting with many prestigious artists around the world, including England’s legendary Martin Simpson, Zimbabwe’s Black Umfolosi and Nashville singer-songwriter, Alan Rhody who has had #1 radio hits in America and Australia and who has been covered by dozens of country music legends such as George Jones, The Oakridge Boys and Tanya Tucker. In 2017, Jensen completed a book of 100 poems interpreting the paintings of Marc Chagall, an artist he has loved since he was a child. He is currently working on several print and spoken

word projects.


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