Maya Soleil
Sounds of Africa
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• Part One
• Part Two
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Paula: What are your goals as a band?

Moye: To represent Zambian musical heritage and dance to the world.

Rob: Make big bucks, get lots of girls, and have our picture on the cover of Rhythm Magazine and Rolling Stone in the same month . . . . not necessarily in that order !!!!! No, seriously, I'd say it's to have the freedom and time to create and perform the kind of music we feel. We would like to find an independent label to promote and distribute our CD. We are also ready to tour, especially in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

TJ: To travel, keep writing fun tunes, and enjoy Moye's African cooking.

Paula: You combine a lot of different styles and instruments from different ethnic sources -- how do you choose which styles and instruments to incorporate?

Rob:: It's mainly from our musical influences, but style and choice of instruments also come from group improvisation. Trying things until it feels right. Of course, it has a lot to do with each individual's strengths and preferences for certain instruments. Mostly, we create songs and arrangements together. there's very rarely a time I or anyone else will say to another group member "you have to play this instrument". I have a background in drum kit, where I started, and keyboards, where I spend most of my time now. So, going for the balafon was natural. Mohammed Shaibu influenced me to start playing talking drum. Moye and Mohammed started drumming as young children in their villages in Africa. Their experience has a lot to do with Maya Soleil's sound. And Mohammed is a natural on guitar, with influences from not only the African high-life and Afro-beat musicians, but from western rock, jazz, and blues. TJ was a drum set player first, but he studied congas with Alex Acuna, so incorporating the congas in with his kit was a natural. By the way, check the September issue of Modern Drummer for a profile of TJ's kit.

Paula: What do you like most about performing live?

Moye: People cheering, dancing, and singing along with the band.

Bob: How the music affects the people. If we see smiles and the people are digging the grooves we present, then our mission has been accomplished. To touch people in a positive way and to uplift their spirits is what I enjoy most about playing with Maya Soleil.

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