Mdungu is a nine piece band based in Amsterdam. The musicians from Holland, Luxembourg, Spain and Gambia bring their music with skill, flair and energy that is irresistible to any audience. African music by Mdungu is a strong musical experience: it funks, it grooves, it moves your feet and feeds your soul. The percussion is dazzling, the melodies enchanting and the vocals captivating, creating a chemical reaction that makes people start dancing and romancing. The moment Mdungu kicks off and the music takes over there is no future, no past. No borders, no passport. The groove is king, and that's the way it should be.

Fall of 2011 Mdungu releases their second album titled Gambian Space Program. This new album is a true group effort of nine musicians working and growing extensively together. Since the release of their debut album Afro What!? they have toured intensively in Holland, but also abroad in a.o. Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Turkey, China and Korea. Gambian Space Program shows what the band is about today. African music is the point of departure, taking their sounds through many sideroads and galaxies and thus creating their own space where they like to be.

Mdungu was founded in 2003 by alto saxophonist Thijs van Milligen. From the start Mdungu is a most welcome guest on international stages and festivals in the world music, pop and jazz scene. Afro What!? is Mdungu's debut album released in May 2009. The album was very well received in the Benelux and has been released in the rest of Europe in the fall of 2009. The recordings are mixed by producer/guitarist Justin Adams. Since the release of their debut album Mdungu toured intensively in Holland and abroad. A few of the venues they played are: the dlr Festival of World Cultures, Ireland; Frequenzen Festival, Germany; the Music Meeting, Nijmegen; Amsterdam Roots; Eurosonic/Noorderslag; Paradiso, Amsterdam; Istanbul Jazz Festival; Hong Kong Jazz Festival; Jarasum Jazz Festival, Korea. Mdungu receives financial support from the Music Xport program me for 2011/2012: an initiative of Buma Cultuur and Music Center the Netherlands (MCN) that aims to enhance the profile of Dutch artists abroad, and hence to extend their possibilities. Mdungu will be showcasing on international World Music Trade Fair WOMEX in Copenhagen on Saturday October 29 2011.

e-flyer picture by Roel Determeier


Mdungu are:

Tenor saxophonist and singer David Beukers was born to be on a stage. Bernies Lounge is his band and he also sings and blows his horn with Mdungu.
Job Chajes is co founder of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band. He gets his rocks off in Mdungu on the baritone sax.
Guitarist Frank Gones grew up on grunge. He studied jazz at the Rotterdam conservatory, became member of a Benoit Martiny band, mixed jazz with grunge and found his style.
Guitarist Michiel Bel digs hiphop and funk. Mdungus steady supplier of Afrobeat.
Merijn van de Wijdeven: bass player, ska specialist, skilled jazz musician. Mdungu’s secret weapon.
Ebou Gaye Mada arrived in the Netherlands about fifteen years ago with famous Gambian band Ifang Bondi and fortunately decided to stick around. Nowadays he plays with his own band Boka Halat de Banjul and spices up Mdungu with his sabar and vocal raps.
Drummer Benoît Martiny discovered that you can mix rock and jazz and started a Benoît Martiny Band.
Ruben Montes, percussionist from A Coruña, Spain, is the newest member of Mdungu. Rubens shekeres and cowbells complete the Mdungu sound. Flamenco and Latin music are his background - and the African music his future!
Alto sax player Thijs van Milligen got fired up on African music in the nineties, met above mentioned musicians while studying at the Rotterdam conservatory and formed Mdungu in 2003.
pictures by Jean-Claude Empain and Vincent Carmiggelt