KINOBE (pronounced chi-no-bay) is a Ugandan singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose work has been described as “some of the most exquisite music coming out of Africa today.” For more than 15 years, he has captivated audiences with his soothing African rhythms, understated vocals and powerful world-roots-dance melodies that emanate from the diversity of the many traditional instruments he customized to develop his unique sound.
He has performed over 100 concerts, often sharing the stage with other celebrated artists including Baaba Maal, Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour, Oliver Mtukudzi and Hugh Masekela—and he has released 10 albums and CDs. His latest, The Voice Within, is quite different from all the others. Rather than offering a mix of traditional songs with intimate rhythms, all of the tracks on The Voice Within are original and tackle social and global issues dear to his heart like love, diversity, economic development and war—“but in a beautiful way,” he promises.
The release of the CD coincides with Kinobe’s long-awaited 2018 North American Tour where he performs solo, as well as in an electrifying stage production alongside his “Dance of Hope” ensemble. The young troupe is made up of children he mentored in Ugandan orphanages and refugee camps.
As a creative arts producer, speaker and facilitator, Kinobe has given talks and workshops all over the world and worked extensively with schools and colleges conducting residences and outreach exchange programs, which in most cases lead to commemorative concerts with local students.
Through his Dance of Hope Foundation (www.danceofhope.com), Kinobe has dedicated his life to using his music and voice to bring love and joy to people, and help build a healthier, more peaceful world for children and families everywhere.
His Early Years
Born along the shores of Lake Victoria and the Nile River, Kinobe developed his passion for traditional African music as a child while listening to the hypnotic drumbeats that reverberated from the Royal Palace—located meters away from his home—all day and into the night.
At the age of 8, he began playing music at the church where his parents sang. Over the next few years, he learned to play multiple instruments including the Kora (West African Harp), Akogo (Kalimba), Endongo (Bowed Lire), Endingidi (Tube Fiddle), Adungu (Ugandan Harp), Tama (West African Drum), Ngoni (West African Lute) and Balafon (Wooden Xylophone).
His first break as a musician came when he traveled to the Netherlands at the age of 10 with his school ensemble. By age 21, he had visited several countries in Africa, studied the Kora in Mali with Kora master, Toumani Diabaté, and performed solo and as back up for different bands throughout Europe, America, Asia and Africa.
Kinobe’s music is often soothing, meditative and intimate but at times can be pulsing and invigorating—much of it a mix of original and traditional—but the sounds are uniquely his.
Many of his instrumentals have been used as scores for commercial TV and film productions including the BBC series, This is My Africa.
His numerous albums and CDs include, Language (2007), Nomad (2008) Kinobe & Soul Beat Africa (2010), Leaving the Song Behind—his fist solo album (2010), Aamu N’emikwano-Together With Friends (2011), Nomad Soul (2012) Searching for Survival (2013), Rafiki (2015), and Home Tales (2015). Each release showcases his effortless virtuosity on a range of instruments that he customized to create his trademark sound.
“I customize my instruments because most of the traditional ones are built to play traditional music,” Kinobe states. “With my travels around the world, my ears have been attracted to different styles of music. So, I use the modified instruments to create a sound that is unique to my talents. And I added amplification so that audiences can hear the full rhythms.”
Although he enjoys performing and recording, Kinobe’s greatest dream has been to teach children how to use the power of music to inspire others to see the world as a global village and that we are all more similar than different. His passion has led him to work closely with M-Lisada—an orphanage in Uganda, UNICEF, the Tender Mercies Foundation, and the Harmony Foundation in Canada, where he serves as a World Ambassador.
In 2013 he co-founded the Dance of Hope Foundation—a nonprofit organization that uses the transforming power of music, dance and storytelling to educate and empower young people to become independent global citizens and improve life quality in impoverished communities.
In February 2018, Kinobe led the touring arm of his foundation on a North American Tour where the 15-member ensemble performed in an electrifying stage show that combined music, dance and storytelling, to expose audiences to a perspective of Africa’s arts, culture, and history rarely covered by mainstream media.
Amid the performances, members of the young troupe—many who’ve been traumatized by war or poverty—share their stories of survival, aimed at inspiring people from all walks of life to have hope and achieve greatness.
Ahead of each “Dance of Hope” stage production, Kinobe performs selections from his, The Voice Within CD.
“The Voice Within” CD
The Voice Within is Kinobe’s second solo recording—the first with all original music. The CD and its title were conceived to champion the different voices in the world that exist but aren’t always heard. Many of the lyrics were inspired by the triumphant stories of the displaced and impoverished children he trained and mentored in his native Uganda.
He timed the official release of the CD to coincide with the February 2018 launch of his “Dance of Hope” North American Tour.
For more information about Kinobe, his music and accomplishments, visit www.kinobemusic.com. For additional information about his humanitarian efforts and his Dance of Hope Foundation and Touring Company, visit www.danceofhope.com.
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