Rafiki Jazz owes its name and something of its style to those classic post-colonial African dance bands that mixed the roots with the latest from across the Atlantic…Bembeya Jazz, TPOK Jazz, Shirati Jazz…Rafiki is Friends, Jazz is the music of Freedom!

Collectively and individually, the band values the oral tradition, musical heritage, innovation & improvisation, and we’re always exploring that musical territory where individual virtuosity meets big-band integrity.

Since the start back in 2006 in Sheffield UK we have always recorded our album tracks live, and songwriting and arrangement is a collective affair that produces original songs of protest, liberation & human rights touching on metaphorical folk tales & ecstatic spiritual chant, all with a very current Afrobeat sensibility.

Iconic folk instruments from across the world drive our sound, resonating deep cultural & social history and linking the past to the West African kora, Caribbean steelpan, Indian tabla, Brazilian berimbau and Arabic ney & oud all have great significance.

Our Rafikian voices are women’s and men’s, mixing languages from urban streets that speak and sing of both universal rights and personal journeys, that call on ritual & devotion and make for trance and ecstacy.

Our unique Rafikian style of original contemporary global heritage music has travelled from the BBC Radio 3 stage at Womad Charlton Park, to sellout Southbank audiences at London African Music Festival and Refugee Week’s Celebrating Sanctuary Festival, and on to amazed village audiences across the country and away at distant Tasmania’s 10 Days on the Island Festival..