Artist Information

Born In : Lusaka
Occupation(s) : Graduate Student, Ethnomusicology Director
Genres : Zambian-Pop, Folk Music, Ethnic Music, Afropop
Agent : Afropop Ensemble
Web Site :

Mathew Tembo is a graduate student in ethnomusicology and Director of the Afropop Ensemble.

I am an ethnomusicology doctoral candidate. My research interests focus on the impact of the 1990s Zambia’s economic liberalization, and globalization on Zambian-Pop. My first musical experiences began in 1994 when I sang in a band called Afro-Vision. I studied Music Education at Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce in Zambia majoring in classical piano and later studied Bachelors in Primary Education with a bias in Music at the University of Zambia. An active musician while in college, I played in popular reggae bands in Zambia, including the Bantu Roots, and in my own band which later came to be called the Dark Black. I then went on to study World Music Performance at the renowned School of Music at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL in the United States of America where I graduated with a Masters in Music in May 2013.

Alongside my scholarly work, I maintain an active performing career, touring and recording music all over the world. I have shared stages with acts such as Oliver Mtukuzi of Zimbabwe, Mulatu Astatke and Mahamud Ahmed both of Ethiopia, Michael Rose, Steven Marley, the Skatalites, and Third World of Jamaica. I was awarded best Afro-fusion for the song “Nandunge” from the album, Anthem, my first album to feature Zambian traditional instruments, at the 2008 Born and Bred Awards in Zambia. I have headlined at festivals such as Millpond 2014 in Bishop, CA, 2014 Umoja Festival in Pittsburgh, PA, and the 2015 Levitt Amp Sheboygan Music Series in Sheboygan, WI. I also have had an opportunity to direct two documentaries on Zambian music. The “Sing Our Own Songs” and “Music of the Bwile People” published in 2007 and 2015 respectively.

More Superb Post From Zedlyric:  Mathew Tembo and The Dark Black

Originally a reggae singer only, I began playing Zambian-Pop after an eye-opening experience while touring Europe in 2004. When I was doing a presentation about the music I played then at the Rhythmic Conservatory in Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the professors from the conservatory questioned why I played reggae and not African music when I was from Africa. From that experience, a whole new world of musical possibilities came to life for me. On return to Zambia that same year, I began a self-taught exploration of traditional African instruments such as the silimba (a home-made marimba), kalimba (mbira/thumb piano), and kalumbu (a one-stringed instrument). Incorporating the use of these instruments into my original compositions, I sing mostly in Chinsenga (language of Nsenga people) and Chichewa (music of the Chewa people).

Zambian Artist Photo

Konkha 2019 album

Artist Albums