Kumera Zekarias is a multilingual singer-songwriter, producer, and the band leader of Kino Musica, a five-piece group based in Washington, D.C. Originally from Austin, Texas, Kumera’s diverse and reflective music is rooted in the soulful expression of blues and the bilingual traditions of the southwestern United States. Kumera founded Kino Musica in 2014 to explore his own East African musical heritage. Recently he conducted ethnomusicological research at the Library of Congress, exploring the relationship between music from the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and Afro-Colombian music from the Pacific coast, culminating in a concert at the 2019 Library of Congress Archive Challenge. He recorded an EP in Bogota, Colombia in late 2018 titled Biyya Chonta. Kumera has also worked as an educator in the Washington, D.C., area for twelve years, designing inclusive programs focused on supporting immigrant youth and their families.
Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 10/01/2020.