Mwalim *7) DaPhunkeeProfessor is a dynamic Renaissance man in the contemporary cultural arts scene. Born in the Bronx, NY and raised in both the Bronx and Mashpee, MA; immersed in both his West Indian and Mashpee Wampanoag heritages, he is a creator of urban music for sophisticated tastes, his branded soul-funk-jazz sound has grooved crowds from arenas to small lounges. A child of the crossroads, he is the keeper of many traditions, manifesting in the forms of music, spoken-word, literature, theater, film and television.
Drawing comparisons to such legends as Gil Scott-Heron, Oscar Brown, Jr and Lou Rawls; Mwalim *7) is a musician, singer, songwriter, arranger and producer, he is the type of soul – funk – jazz artist who embodies the time-honored tradition of the musical storyteller. A vibrant and prolific figure in the underground soul, jazz and dance music scenes, Mwalim *7) notes, “I never made a killing, but I’ve always made a living.” An internationally recognized living legend and veteran of the Black and Native American arts scenes, Mwalim *7) is far from new to this, but remains true to this.
Playing Carnegie Hall before he turned 14, Mwalim *7) began his career in the 1980’s, while attending Music & Art High School. Hanging out in the fabled 251 West 30th Street music building led to doing session work at Planet Studios and Rogue studios; later doing session work at Jazzy Jay Recording Studios when it was located in the Bronx. Nicknamed “The String Guy” for adding violin, viola and cello parts to songs, he also played keyboard on a number of early hip-hop, r&b and dance music recordings in New York City and eventually Boston, MA.
Mwalim *7) came into his own as a producer, arranger and remix artist, lending his talents to projects by a myriad of major and independent labels and artists before emerging as a solo soul and spoken-word artist in the late 1990s. Possessing one of the smooth-funkiest vocals in jazz today, Mwalim *7) was initially to shy to sing, and began his solo career reciting poetry and stories over his piano playing, becoming a favorite on the east-coast spoken-word and small club circuit. As an underground soul artist, his style and sound was part of the foundation for the ‘neo-soul’ trend. A mentor to many up and coming artists, he is considered the ‘Godfather of the South Coast Soul Movement’ (referring to the Southern region of New England). After a bad stint with a major record label, Mwalim *7) re-organized his own independent label, Liberation Music – MGM from the imprint that he formerly used, Midnight Groove Recordings/ Multimedia.
Winner of the ‘Best Male Jazz Artist’ category at the 2010 and 2012 New England Urban Music Awards, Mwalim *7) has opened for and/or performed with Musiq, The Four Tops, Angie Stone, The P-Funk All-Stars, The Last Poets, KRS –ONE, and N’Dambi. His CD, “The Liberation Sessions” (Liberation Music – MGM) scored the club hit, DEM BIG GIRLS and earned multiple top nominations from the Urban Music Awards as well as two Top nominations from the 2010 Native American Music Awards (NAMMYs). After a stint at a major label as an artist and producer, Mwalim *7) helped form Liberation Music – MGM in 2007, launching their first release in 2008; the critically acclaimed “Sketches of a Neighborhood” as The Bass Mint Bros.
Mwalim *7) received his formal training in theater from New African Company in Boston, New England’s oldest, continuous professional Black theater company. Distinguishing himself as a playwright, drama teacher, director, and producer, his work has been presented throughout the USA, Canada, as well as the U.K. and the Caribbean. He has been the resident artist at such venues as the Harlem Theater Company, Bronx Writer’s Center, Live From The Edge Theatre, WGBH-TV, RMG, and has been the playwright-in-residence at New African Company since 2004. Nicknamed ‘DaPhunkeeProfessor’ by a former student; Mwalim *7) is a tenured professor of English and Black Studies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Now a mature and accomplished artist, Mwalim *7) continues to perform, produce, write and teach. His music remains a favorite among the grown & sexy crowd with a growing audience of young adults seeking the more sophisticated side of urban entertainment. Mwalim *7) has also developed a quickly growing NDN/Native American/ First Nations audience as his album “DEEP Soul Chants & Hollers” and E.P. “The Soul-Funk-Jazz of Mwalim *7)” is gaining rotation on NDN radio stations around the US and Canada; as well as his participation and performance in the landmark production of the Marie Clements musical “The Road Forward”. Also as the director of Black Studies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, he is looking to create a Southcoast home for Afro- Native arts and culture. just like a piece of coal that handled stress very well. Being from Uganda where he witnessed so much pain and gain much compassion, there is no limit to his artistic ability. Which makes him a force to be reckoned with.