Jembaa Groove is a Berlin based Afro-Soul group founded in late 2020 by Yannick Nolting (bass, composer, producer) and Eric Owusu (vocals, percussion, songwriter). They first met fortuitously at a playground in Berlin early 2020 whilst collecting their young sons from kindergarden and soon after, realised they were onto something special. Speaking the same musical language, the two musical nomads quickly realised the fruitful outcome of their musical encounter. Digging deep into both their backgrounds and musical identities, they came up with a new and yet authentic vibe ready to be spread across the world. After seeking for the right companions for the upcoming journey and stumbling on a few of Berlin's finest musicians, they finally formed Jembaa Groove, a 7-piece band that combines jazzy sounds from Berlin's uprising underground music scene with traditional West-African sounds from Ghana and Mali, such as Highlife, Adowa and Wassoulou. The music of Jembaa Groove is as much influenced by the soulful rhythms and baritone chords of 70s black America and contemporary artists like Lee Fields and Ikebe Shakedown, as it is by highlife artists such as Ebo Taylor and Pat Thomas, with whom Eric has been touring and recording for many years.
Garnering a smattering of support from the media world like KEXP, KCRW, Worldwide FM, Rinse FM, WDR Cosmo and enough stations round the world off the back of their Bassa Bassa track, Jembaa Groove are causing a storm with their hybrid West African meets US soul & jazz sound. Their debut album 'Susuma' will be released via Agogo Records on 18.03.2022 and is being followed by an extensive Release Tour throughout Europe soon after.
About the band members:
All songs are composed, arranged and produced by bassist Yannick Nolting, the driving force behind the band. After living in places like Mali and Brazil and absorbing various cultures and musical worlds, Yannick installed in Lisbon in 2013, where he lived for five years. He then finished his Jazz degree at the Lisbon Music College, under Rotterdam’s renowned Codarts World Music Academy.
Being a melting pot of different nationalities and even more a meeting point between African
and European cultures and music, Lisbon has had a significant impact on his creative identity. In Summer 2018, he finally settled in Berlin, where he is now glueing the Afro-soul elements of the band together. His companion and co-founder, Eric Owusu, hails from the heart of Highlife and West-African music. At only 14 years Eric left his home in Accra to seek his musical dreams. His first destination was Lagos/Nigeria, where he joined several groups of traditional drumming and singing and started playing regularly in local churches. Gaining more and more consideration in the West-African music scene as a percussionist, Eric decided to move back to Accra, where he started playing with a few of Ghana’s most known musicians. Nowadays, Eric is a regular band member for legends Pat Thomas and Ebo Taylor and has played with world-renowned artists such as Richard Bona. Eric is now living in Germany and is the band's creative force behind the lyrics and vocal melodies. Tunde Alibaba is an essential figure in the group. Being a spectacular multi-instrumentalist, Tunde has worked with artists such as Lionel Loueke, Alessia Cara, and Anewal, and he is also a lead singer in his own right. Meravi Goldman is a professional classical French horn player. She plays in world-renown orchestras such as Staatsoper Berlin and writes her music under the name Meravi. Goncalo Mortagua lives and works in Berlin as a call-to tenor saxophonist for many years and has played in many projects of different genres. Moses Yoofee Vester on keys has become one of the most prominent musicians in Berlin at his young age. He is the bandleader for Wanubale and Footprints Project. Nir Tom Sabag is a jazz drummer by trade. He is a regular band member for soul singer J.Lamotta and is a co-founding member of the dystopian hip-hop group Move78.
Yannick Nolting (Germany) - bass and bandleader
Eric Owusu (Ghana) - vocals and percussion
Tunde Alibaba (Benin) - vocals and guitar
Merav Goldman (Israel) - french horn
Goncalo Mortagua (Portugal) - tenor saxophone
Moses Yoofee Vester (Germany/Ghana) - keyboards
Nir Sabag (Israel) - drums