Waleed Kush Ensemble - MusicOntario Member Spotlight

Posted on
June 4, 2024

Waleed Kush Afro-Jazz is an electrifying African-Jazz Toronto-based ensemble. The creative vision of the band is to combine ancient rhythms from Africa with modern jazz harmonies. These two worlds—from different places and eras—meet in their creative expression. Like Toronto, their meeting place, their music is a meeting place.

More About Waleed Kush Ensemble

The Kush ensemble brings forth ancient African Rhythms. Rhythms that explore unique time signatures then blends everything with contemporary harmony and jazz. Fronted by Waleed Abdulhamid a Sudanese multi-instrumentalist, composer, vocalist, music and film producer, known for his striking vocals, innovative bass technique, and his speed and precision on percussion.

Waleed teams up with band members consisting of award-winning artists with over 30 years of musical experience. Their rhythms are played in what is considered "odd time" in Western music, combining jazz chord progressions with traditional African rhythms to produce an entrancing experience. Waleed Kush ensemble is known through out Toronto for their live performances which tells stories atop an imaginative musical landscape, inspired by the chanting and vocal phrasing that have accompanied these rhythms since ancient times.

Each composition narrates an experience or journey, continually changing depending on what story the musicians want to tell. Sometimes these experiences are personal, sometimes they are historical, sometimes they are a retelling of the past of the Nile and Nubian pyramids. Each musical journey creates a relationship between the storyteller (the band) and the audience. Waleed sings in over 15 African and Western languages, bringing the African diaspora to Toronto’s thriving music community. Audiences respond to these rhythms and melodies, creating a vibrant, exciting atmosphere, leaving energized by the unique music. Fans have said, “We dance, we’re entranced, the music feeds our soul.” The Waleed Kush African Jazz Ensemble takes the improvisational qualities of jazz and the beat of ancient African rhythms to literally move, excite, and inspire new and old audiences alike.

Waleed Kush Ensemble will be headlining at Young and Dundas Square on June 22, 2024. They plan to continue bringing rhythm workshops to Toronto communities, release a full-length album this fall, and write a pedagogical approach to teaching African Rhythms.






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