Artist Spotlight: Chilumo Mbwana ‘The Super Violinist’

Chilumo comes from one of the more musical parts of the country. If you guessed the Coast you are spot on. A classical and contemporary violinist from Kenya; Chilumo fell in love with the violin in high school. To him, music has the power to be a driving force to positively impact society. We recently watched him do his thing at the Kempinski Concertini and it is evident just how much time he has dedicated to not only honing his playing skills but also the knowledge behind the music he plays.

He started off learning the classical piano and then switched up to the violin. Later on, in 2013, he picked up the violin and joined the Kenya Conservatoire of Music Orchestra, and later in the year joined Nairobi Orchestra, the oldest orchestra in Kenya.

In October 2014, inspired by the movement to perform and tell more of the African stories, he started Lento String  Quartet which later rebranded into Menza String Quartet. This was to become a string quartet with a difference having unique interpretations of traditional and modern African music and lively, energetic more entertaining performances. Something we got to witness at the see at his performance at Kempinski.

In September 2015, in a bid to reach a bigger audience and try out different textures, he started The SoundCzeck Republik Band which later rebranded to The Ramazi Band. This went on to cement his name in the contemporary violin and live music scene.  In October 2016, he decided to focus on a couple of solo projects as well to advance his goal which was to see the advancement and growth in appreciation of instrumental music in Kenya. He started writing his own music in 2017.  

In the year 2019, he was a selected participant in the inaugural East  Africa’s Got Talent, proceeding past the pre-screening and audition processes and going on to be a semi-finalist in the competition. 

In the month of November 2020, under the mentorship of multi-instrumentalist Tom Wolf, he delved into the bluegrass genre ultimately playing with the Tom Wolf Bluegrass Ensemble which was later renamed the Elephantgrass Bluegrass Band

Chilumo has had his foot in pop, classical, jazz, reggae, gospel, and bluegrass genres and isn’t too shy from experimenting with his violin. He has collaborated with famous gospel musician Mercy Masika, poet and spoken word artists Teardrops and Mufasa, Ruth Matete, Mayonde,  beatboxer Noiz, and rapper Nyashinski just to mention a few. Opening for artists such as gospel musician Bahati, Kenyan rapper King Kaka and H_art the Band. Internationally, he has had the pleasure of collaborating with Tom Wolf from the US, and Karim Gillani, an internationally acclaimed Sufi musician from Canada.  

Chilumo has delighted diverse crowds with his sweet tone and engaging stage presence. He has performed notably at  Art Riot Festival at Kenyatta University, The Kenya Slam Africa Poetry Festival, The Nairobi String Festival, The Stereotypes Festival at the  University of Nairobi, The Sunset Festival, The DrumJam Showdown,  Twice Upon Yesterday Festival, Pawa Festival and The Groove Awards.  He has been interviewed and featured on NTV’s The Trend, Homeboyz  Radio, K24 Alfajiri Show, NTV’s Jamrock, KU TV, and KBC Y254  Breakfast Show.  

The Super Violinist also does private gigs. He tells Business Daily one “apology” booking and talks more about his journey.

The award winning musician also teaches at the Conservatoire of Music and is celebrated by his students and fellow teachers. He definitely deserves the “Super Violinist” title.

Follow Chilumo on Instagram and Tik Tok to see how he uses social media to entertain and more:

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