Swiss-Zambian “world citizen rapper”, Julio Mwansa Nkowane, a.k.a Rootwords, will be embarking on a SADC region tour this May.

The acclaimed American-born rapper behind the tracks “All Good” and “Freedom of Speech” will be taking the stages of 5 venues in Zambia, South Africa and Swaziland all within 9 days. The artist’s modern hip-hop, dub electro-infused sound has already garnered him a following in the US, Eu-rope and the Caribbean.

He has shared a stage with iconic artists such as The Original Wailers, KRS-One, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill. Outside Switzerland, where he is based, his live music has already reached audienc-es in France, Germany, USA, Spain, Italy, China and Peru.

Joining him on the tour is his eclectic 4-member band, The Block Notes, with whom he has per-formed in numerous music festivals including the Paleo Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Rototom Sunsplash, Reggae Sun Ska and Selvamonos Festival. The band is well versed on the kind of hip-hop represented by Rootwords and their influences include reggae, jazz, funk, rock, dub and electro. The crew consists of the “precise, powerful and heavy” drummer Benjamin Riggi; bassist Stan Breynaert, who “serves as the reference point for all the musicians on stage”; the “ever-present” sound engineer Vernon Pace and “the melody master” Julien Boss on keys.


Through music, Rootwords also spreads a message of hope. In 2016 he partnered up with John Aram and multi-talented musician Jacob Collier for a humanitarian collaboration to support UN-HCR’s response to the refugee crisis in Europe.

His forthcoming album is scheduled for release in 2017.

The tour will kick off in Zambia at the Lusaka arts centre Modzi Arts on 19 May at 20hrs. Rootwords will form part of the centre’s aims to “grow the contemporary art and cultural scene, making it more visible in Zambian society…”.

Still in Lusaka, the tour proceeds to Club Zed on the 20th of May. The newly refurbished venue is focused on fostering a culture of live music performance, and an unmistakably local clubbing ex-perience.

Rootwords and The Block Notes’ SADC tour is supported by Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council.


Freedom of speech

All Good

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