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Mtali Banda presents “Black Boy Fairytales” at Hawks and Reed

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December 3, 2021 - 8pm

Presented by Hawks & Reed and Signature Sounds Presents


Hawks & Reed Ballroom
Doors Open at 7pm

All Ages

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Mtali Banda presents “Black Boy Fairytales” at Hawks and Reed
Genuine Culture & Signature Sounds Presents
Mtali Banda at Hawks and Reed
Friday, December 3rd
Doors 7pm // Show 8pm
Tix: $15 ADV / $20 Door
Band featuring:
Reed Sutherland
Colin Jalbert
Anand Nayak
Paulie Philippone
Mtali Banda
The son of a Malawian refugee father and an African-American mother, all the sounds Mtali Banda was exposed to growing up can now be heard in his music. Music was always there. Mtali Banda’s first tour was at age ten, singing in a gospel choir (his mom was the director) traveling from Washington, D.C. to Maine. More than the singing itself, the musicians accompanying the choir captured his burgeoning imagination. He knew right then what he wanted to be.
Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, Mtali spent the bulk of his early years in Madison, Wisconsin, before moving to Atlanta, Georgia as an adolescent. In Atlanta, he switched from his first instrument, clarinet to saxophone and began cutting his teeth in the city’s cutthroat school marching band environment. ‘If you’re good enough in middle school they’ll let you play in the high school band,” he says. And that’s exactly what happened. “It’s a sport down there. You gotta have swagger.”
When Mtali was 15, he and his mother moved to Brockton, Massachusetts–a poor working class immigrant city just south of Boston–where he began to study jazz much more formally. At 18, he moved to Haifa, Israel, where he served at the Baha’i World Centre. He was able to connect with the Israeli jazz music scene, as well as reconnect with his gospel roots and refine his sound.
When he returned to the states after a two year hiatus, Mtali brought these lessons, swagger included, with him, where his career as a bandleader, instrumentalist, and songwriter has taken root. It is a music existing outside of codified genres, balancing invention and tradition. The ingredients span jazz, funk, soul, folk, r&b, and hip hop, but also travelogue, memoir, and family history.
These elements have combined in the work he’s done with The Oneness Project, his avenue for his exploration of personal history and Black experience in America. Visits to Malawi formed the basis for the song cycle Homegoing, a deeply felt collection both of and about the country from which his bloodline springs. Playing music there, he felt at home. “It’s because I grew up playing Black music here,” he says. “I can’t play classical. I have too much backbeat in me.”
Written by Matt Krefting


To ensure the safety for everyone at the show, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (final dose 14 days before the event) OR a negative COVID-19 test result (taken no more than 72 hours before start of show) is required for all Signature Sounds Presents at Hawks and Reed shows. Please bring your vaccination card or a clearly legible photo of your vaccination card on your phone, or proof of test results. In addition, masks are required to be worn at all times while at the venue. You may pull your mask down when eating or drinking only.