West African melodies meet their offspring, the North Mississippi hill country blues, through a collaboration between Guelel Kumba of Senegal and members of Junior Kimbrough's Soul Blues Boys


Kumba comes from Senegal, West Africa, and is a member of the FULANI people, nomadic cow people who spent centuries in the North African desert when it was still green before settling on the Atlantic Coast where many were captured by their enemies and sold into slavery. Kumba was born into the West African social caste known as GRIOTS, who pass down a millennium’s worth of oral tradition including songs, stories, and lineages.
As a youngster Kumba learned the molo, the one string guitar, and at age 8, the six string. When he was 20, he heard John Lee Hooker. “The blues is close to my music. The lyrics are different, but the emotions are the same,” he says. “I loved the melodies but I was too young to understand the anguish yet.”
The nucleus of AFRISSIPPI was born when Eric Deaton, apprentice of the late JUNIOR KIMBROUGH, invited Guelel to explore the hill country sound of North Mississippi. Eric carried Guelel to the home of bluesman R.L. BURNSIDE where they discovered the eerie similarities between some of Guelel’s Senegalese folk melodies and those of R.L. & JUNIOR, the patriarchs of the hill country boogie and cottonpatch trance blues.
With R.L.’s blessing, Guelel & Eric recruited his son and grandson, Garry & Cedric Burnside, as rhythm section. When they left to launch Burnside Exploration, Kumba hired Junior’s son and drummer, Kinney Kimbrough of Chulahoma and bassist Justin Showah (Cary Hudson Trio, Taylor Grocery Band) of Oxford.
AFRISSIPPI features a revolving cast of guest artists including Memphis horn legend Herman Green (BB King, Lionel Hampton, Miles Davis), and wordsmith and American rebel soul hero John Sinclair. Other guests get a piece of the boogie, including longtime Oxford session men Bryan Ledford (Taylor Grocery Band, Kudzu Kings) on mandolin and accordion, and Max Williams (Taylor Grocery Band, Kudzu Kings) on lap steel. Brothers Chad & Jeff Henson from Yocona round out the sound on guitar, flute, and percussion.
From desert trance marches to fisherman chanteys, AFRISSIPPI channels ancient boogie music & today’s Mississippi hill country groove through the Delta Recording style to give birth to a NEW SOUND. “Super Chikan” Johnson said it best when he declared, “It’s like the blues trying to be born!”


Fulani Journey

Set List

all original
ngol jimol / jumper on the line
nduumandii / hands off that girl
njulli / fulani journey
ngoppe kam mi yaha
guelel kumba