|Akim Funk Buddha Urban Indigenous Orchestra
Akim Ndlovu, a.k.a. Akim Funk Buddha, is a 35-year-old dancer, griot, teacher, choreographer, and activist born in Syracuse, New York, and raised in Zimbabwe. In other words, he’s a New Yorker. But his current show, “AmaZulu – Dance As a Weapon: The Hip-Hop Circus, Part 1,” proves him to be so much more than easily grasped labels.
Akim Funk Buddha, vocals
Other musicians, tba
“The inspiration for this came from my desire to explore where and why we make music,” explains Ndlovu. “Not necessarily the historical beginnings but academic beginnings.”
A self-described old-school B-boy, his hour-long show incorporates Japanese, Zulu and urban American vernacular to create a provocative, dynamic mélange. “AmaZulu” somehow manages to juggle human beat-boxing with East Asian martial arts and African-inspired drum, making the circus reference the title more than appropriate.
Under the theatrical moniker of Akim Funk Buddha, Ndlovu has made appearances at venues throughout the city in recent years, including Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and World Financial Center’s Winter Garden.
Returning to the States from Africa at the age of 20 years old, he released an album in 1992 called “Zimbabwe Legit” which blended straightforward hip-hop beats with traditional African lyricism. A two-time winner of the Harlem Arts Theater Poetry Slam and the PS122 Dance Contest, he has spend much of the past decade journeying throughout Southeast Asia and France to study dance and spirituality. The spiritual and cultural threads are subtle but easily detectable in “AmaZulu.”
“The spirituality is something I wanted to present, but not in a preachy way,” he says.
In addition to his performance work, he is youth worker at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Northampton, MA, and creator and founding director of the Urban Affairs Department at Projectile Arts.
With worldly inspirations, you can be sure Akim will give you a performance you won't soon forget from Tuvan throat singing, beat box, Ndebele clicks, to scat. And what better place to have him perform than our very own, world-renowned Blue Note stage.