Off the Page: Siama’s Congo Roots at East Recreation Center

Thursday | February 23 | 6:30pm | East Recreation Center

Siama’s Congo Roots performs a FREE “Off the Page” concert at East Recreation Center is an acoustic quartet with a traditional Congolese feel-good sound. Siama’s masterful, intricate guitar work and spirited vocals are complemented by Dallas Johnson on harmonies and thumb piano (likembe), Brian Van Tassel on marimba, and Tim O’Keefe on percussion and harmonica. Together, they’ll take you back in time to experience the rural, under-the-stars sounds of DR Congo and the upbeat soukous dance halls of East Africa. You’ll hear fun stories and you even try singing in Kikongo, Lingala and Swahili!

Congolese guitarist Siama Matuzungidi earned the moniker, “soukous legend” as he recorded hundreds of radio hits during the ’70s-80s and performed on four continents with many of the biggest soukous artists (soukous is an infectious dance genre known as the ‘sound of happiness’). Now based in Minneapolis, Siama received a McKnight Fellowship in 2014 and with the help of a MSAB grant he released a critically-acclaimed new album (May ’16), he received an MRAC grant to create a new CD of music for young audiences (Spring ’17) and he recently joined COMPAS’ roster of teaching artists. In addition to performing at many festivals and special events, he received a grant to host a songwriting residency with young men, he enjoyed a summer residency for kids at Minneapolis Institute of Art and he’s hosted interactive performances for kids at Intermedia Arts, the Ordway Theatre’s Children’s Festival, MacPhail, Open Streets and more.

Siama’s Congo Roots features: Siama Matuzungidi (guitar & vocals) Dallas Johnson (vocals, ukulele & likembe) Tim O’Keefe (percussion & harmonica) Brian Van Tassel (marimba and percussion)

The Performance Center at Saint Mary’s University is a member of the River Arts Alliance. To learn more about the benefits of membership, please visit


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