Robbi 'K' Kumalo
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Robbi 'K' Kumalo

Eugene, OR | Established. Jan 01, 1982 | INDIE | AFM

Eugene, OR | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 1982
Solo World Children's Music




"CD Review"

Robbi K, who’s sung backup for Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Harry Belafonte and many others, has cranked out a groov-alicious offering for all with her third children’s CD. It’s filled with guest appearances from Jon ‘Bowzer’ Bauman of Sha Na Na to her husband, Paul Simon’s bassist Bakithi Kumalo, and kids will enjoy the lyrics. But anyone can just sit back and feel the rhythm coursing through his or her body.” - NY Post


Music Makes Me Happy by Robbi K and Friends

“Robbi K, an African-American singer and musician who performs a live show inspired by Paul Simon's "Graceland" album, brings her accomplished voice to songs that span jazz, pop, blues, and world music styles. Her husband, South African bassist Bakithi Kumalo, who has long played with Simon, and children's singer Brady Rymer, are among the guests on this CD.”

- Publishers Weekly

"CD Review"

“The fusion of styles with Robbi K’s soulful sound makes for a refreshingly pan-cultural kids’ album that stylistically ranges the globe, from the deep-voiced harmonies of Africa to the lilt of American folk. Robbi has sung backup for artists ranging from Jewel to Aretha Franklin, and she deserves praise for the cultural aspects and delightful depth of her performances. The overall effort is so rewarding and well performed that parents should just groove out.” - Time Out New York Kids

"Concert Preview"

“A terrific singer with personality to spare…but make no mistake: It's hard to imagine anyone resisting Robbi K's charm, dedication and all-embracing repertoire.” - The Washington Post

"CD Review"

“You've gotten a lot of mileage out of all the Laurie Berkner and Wiggles CDs. But now the kids are craving something new as they ‘mature.’ Robbi K may have the answer. Her albums offer a cornucopia of different music genres (jazz, pop, worldbeat, calypso, blues and Broadway) so there's bound to be something to appeal to budding music critics. And you may finally be able to get the words of Berkner's addictive ‘Victor Vito’ out of your head.” - UrbanBaby Daily

"Music Makes Me Happy Review"

“Her music takes bits from all around the world, but she never sounds out of her element, whether evoking traditional American folk music, Zulu rhythms, or reggae. It all adds up to pure joy. We just saw her live, and in just one song, the entire room – filled with people who have seen a lot of music – was transported.” - Minnesota Parents

"Music Makes Me Happy Review"

“Music Makes Me Happy … an amazing mixture of jazz, pop, folk, world beat, classical, blues, Broadway, and calypso … Superbly recorded and expertly performed … an outstanding and highly recommended CD.” - Midwest Book Review

"Music Makes Me Happy Review"

"African-American jazz artist Robbi K's third album for children features one traditional and ten original upbeat songs. This outstanding album features rap, calypso, rock, jazz, blues, classical, and Cajun musical styles.

Her sultry alto voice is joined by virtuoso performances by guest artists Eileen Ivers (fiddle), Chieli Minucci (jazz guitar), Jimmy Owens (jazz trumpet), Bakithi Kumalo (bass), Hayes Greenfield (saxophone), Brady Rymer, Guy Davis, and Jon "Bowzer" Bauman of Sha Na Na. The songs include "Feel da Beat," "Summer's Here," "Eating Some Pizza," "Legend of John Henry," "Music Is My Friend," "Favourite Things" (with a fantastic jazz arrangement), "Got Me Laughing Blues," and others. A must purchase for all libraries."

—Beverly Bixler, San Antonio Public Library, TX - School Library Journal

"The World Beats of Robbi K & Friends"

This morning Robbi K & Friends took us on a musical tour of the world, and we didn’t have to travel farther than Tribeca. I have to hand it to anyone who can bring that much energy to a room full of kids on a rainy Sunday morning.

Robbi K was a background singer for artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, Harry Belafonte, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, and Jewel, and that diversity shows in her music. The set included African and Latin rhythms, reggae and jazz, with some familiar numbers thrown in. Olive was very confused when they played My Favorite Things. Poor girl only knows the John Coltrane version, and she said, “Mommy, this song doesn’t usually have words.”

Robbi K has great stage presence, and she was great with the kids in the audience. At one point she got down in the middle of the kiddie dance floor and had the kids dancing and singing. It took shy Olive a while to get warmed up, but she was grooving by the end. Robbi K even brought some rooster puppetry into the act. Can’t go wrong with that.

It was a lovely morning, and Robbi K is a nice change of pace from the usually rock and pop inspired kids music. Also, 92YTribeca has a terrific space to see a show like this. The vibe is casual, there’s room to dance, it sounds great, and there’s a cafe on the scene to grab a cup of coffee. I’m pretty sure I even saw one parent with a mimosa. (I was tempted to hunt down a martini but then realized, despite the fact that I was in a club seeing live music, it was 11:00 in the morning and I was surrounded by preschoolers.) This concert was part of 92YTribeca’s B.Y.O.K. (Bring Your Own Kid) series of ongoing family concerts. - Meida Macaroni Concert Review

"Music Makes Me Happy CD & Concert Review"

“From a Singer, Songs That Rock, and Are Kid Friendly Too … an uplifting, genre-spanning record.” - NY Times


Arif Mardin
All My Friends Are Here (NuNoise 2010)
Vocalist, Children's Choir Director

Robbi Kumalo
Music Makes Me Happy (40/Shorty Re:Kids 2007)
Producer, writer, vocals

Robbi Kumalo
Set It Free (BaliDali Records 2000)
Producer, writer, vocals

Robbi Kumalo
Keep The Beat! (BaliDali Records 2003)
Producer, writer, vocals

Deepak Chopra M.D.
Gift of Love, Vol. 2 (2002)

Backing vocals
Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte & Friends! (1999)

Mary J Blige
Live (2001)

Diana Ross
Every Day is a New Day (1999)
Vocal contractor, vocals

Eileen Ivers
Crossing the Bridge (1999)
Vocals (bckgr)

Joy: A Holiday Collection (Atlantic Records1999)
Choir, Chorus

Bakithi Kumalo
San Bonan (Siam Records1998)
Vocals, lyrics

Bakithi Kumalo
In Front Of My Eyes (Siam Records 2000)
Vocals, co-writer

Between the Lions (PBS theme song)

Bronx Zoo Congo Conservancy Film

Various Artists
African Playground (Putomayo Kids 2003)
Vocals, (Diop & Kumalo tracks)

Various Artists
African Dreams (Ellipsis Artists)2004
Producer, vocals, arranger 'Lala Mbube'

Anton Fig
Figments (2002)

Michael Amante
Christmas CD (2004)

Luisa Payon
Luisa (1999)
Vocals (bckgr)

Vieux Diop
Afrika Wassa (Triloka Records 2000)
Vocals (bckgr)

Daniel Rodriguez
Spirit of America (2002)
Vocal contractor, soprano

Matt Marshak
Preservation (2002)

Jack Lictra
Jack's Waterfall (2002)



Robbi honed her chops performing, recording, & touring with artists Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Jewel, Diana Ross, Arif Mardin, Deepak Chopra, Rod Stewart, Eileen Ivers, and Harry Belafonte among others. TV appearances with these artists include Oprah, 60 Minutes, Rosie, The View, VH-1 Storytellers, The Today Show, and Late Night with David Letterman.

Robbi is a modern American singer that performs stylish contemporary repertoire that appeals to a cross section of people of all ages and backgrounds. Her concerts include classic Jazz standards and popular favorites for adults to high-energy, interactive world music for family audiences. As a storyteller and musician, Robbi is a multiple Parents' Choice Award winner and one of the few African American women to have achieved national recognition in the field of children's music.

Her passionate love of music and her God-gifted 'joie de vivre' makes for an entertaining show, to say the least. Backed by an eclectic group of dynamic musicians, Robbi K's concerts are guaranteed to connect to everybody in the audience, delivering to the ear music that is the soundtrack of our lives.

Robbi sings, speaks and performs in: