“Artists reach areas far beyond the reach of politicians. Art, especially entertainment and music, is understood by everybody, and it lifts the spirits and morale of those who hear it.”
— Nelson Mandela
NSIMBI - peace activists, educators, songwriter/performers – is a duo formed by Ugandan hip-hop artist GNL Zamba and American world fusion artist Miriam Tamar. Building on the acoustic sounds and indigenous instruments of Africa, Nsimbi blends contemporary elements of hip-hop and spoken word with English/Western songwriting techniques and vocals to merge the traditional with the modern. A global sound anchored in the rich messages of ancient East African proverbs and folklore emerges with their debut self-titled album. The collection bridges cultures with lyrics in English, Swahili, Luganda and Lingala.
Miriam began her journey in Massachusetts, studying at the New England Conservatory of Music and Tufts University’s Peace and Justice Studies program. After an internship at RefugePoint, an international nonprofit lifeline for forgotten refugees, Miriam’s path took her to villages and cities across East Africa. During her five years living in Africa, Miriam developed curriculum for youth at the Insight Peace Education Project in post-conflict Gulu, Uganda. Liaising with the African Youth Initiative Network, Ugandan Ministry of Education and UNICEF, she engaged diverse stakeholders in deep learning. In partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, an international educational and professional development organization, Miriam advocated on issues ranging from the worldwide refugee crisis and global genocide, to conflict resolution and educating for peace. She also spearheaded community-based outreach projects at the Life Child Initiative in Pader, Uganda and TunaHAKI Center for Children in Moshi, Tanzania.
Celebrated as Uganda’s “ghetto storyteller,” GNL uses lyricism to both mirror and critique his society. His music addresses social justice, domestic violence, African pride, public health, sexuality, environmentalism and ethnicity, often through the narratives of relatable characters. His song Story ya Luka was selected by Uganda Ministry of Health to headline the 2010 AIDS awareness campaign for youth education. A year later, his video collaboration with Young Empowered and Healthy (YEAH) Uganda for True Manhood won the People’s Choice Digital Media Award at the 2011 International Entertainment Education Conference. In 2014, the Twaweza Initiative awarded GNL and Miriam for the positive social impact of their song We Cry, which tackles street violence and promotes safe sex. Since 2013, GNL has actively partnered with Reach A Hand Foundation Uganda in a series of youth edutainment campaigns. Recognized for both his artistry and activism, GNL was invited into the academic sphere to lecture on oral literature and ethnology at Makerere University.
Nsimbi expands its focus to the communities and students across the U.S., visiting with schools and programs to enhance understandings of how we are all connected to one another on a global scale, how we all share common goals and purpose. Compelling dialogues and lessons emerge in this participatory process, as Nsimbi engages learners in contemplating substance, action, and creativity. The duo often brings musical performances into inspiring speaking engagements.
Nsimbi offers workshops and panel discussions on the following social justice and creative themes:
-Music-making to promote humanist and cross-cultural dialogue and appreciation
-Repurposing cultural traditions and knowledge in today’s world
-Understanding identity politics and social agency
-Facing xenophobia: fear and hatred of “The Other”
-Exploring struggle & resilience: the stories of displaced persons and refugees
“Zamba and Tamar believe that music helps improve society and with their joyous outlook, it's easy to see how their melodies and lyrics uplift others”