Rosenwinkel Helps Raise Funds for Zambian Orphans

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Children at the Mthunzi Orphan Center in Lusaka, Zambia, performed vocals on a track that features Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Parks and Dave Douglas.

(Photo: Elena Berto)

Best known for his fluid electric guitar lines, Kurt Rosenwinkel is also the driving force behind Heartcore Records, an independent label that now is raising funds to help purchase musical instruments for children in Zambia.

Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, is home to the Mthunzi Orphan Center, which currently provides respite to about 50 children. And it’s some of those children who have collaborated with Rosenwinkel, pianist Aaron Parks and trumpeter Dave Douglas for the track “Ni Chikondi (About Love).”

“Ni Chikondi” isn’t a straight jazz cut. Instead, Parks plays a melodic bed for the musical contributions from a choir of the children. Douglas’ trumpet laces the endeavor, pushing what largely is a rap and spoken-word track, supplemented by the choir.

Creating the track was a multi-continent endeavor. Both Douglas and Parks recorded their portions in New York, while Rosenwinkel added the finishing touches from a German studio.

Lyrically, “Ni Chikondi” focuses on finding love in nontraditional family settings and struggling with hunger or not having presentable clothing. In short, it’s a plaintive call for love. The six minutes of singing contributed by the children was recorded at the Mthunzi center’s studio and organized by Heartcore’s Michaela Bóková, who traveled to Zambia for the proceedings.

“Some of the kids create music almost every day,” said Chakwe Daka in a press release. “Musical instruments and good equipment would be a huge benefit to their education.”

Daka, a onetime resident of the orphanage, constructed the studio there and helped arrange the session.

According to an email from musician/producer Michaela Bóková, in August 2018, Heartcore is planning a similar project at a school in India. Ideally, Bóková wrote, Heartcore would visit a “country every summer and after 10 years release an album with all those … songs.”

For more information, or to purchase “Ni Chikondi”, visit heartcore-records.com. DB




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April 2020
Gregory Porter
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