Skip to main content
The biography
of Niwel Tsumbu

Niwel Tsumbu

Co-Principal Guitar

Profile for Niwel Tsumbu

Grammy-award winning Congolese guitarist, composer and singer Niwel Tsumbu has emerged as an engaging and innovative musician in constant demand who has gained many admirers around the world.

His recent collaborations with Rhiannon Giddens and the Silk Road Ensemble have brought Niwel considerable international acclaim, including multiple North American Tours and live TV performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and CBS Mornings. He won a Grammy award for his role as lead guitarist on the 2022 Best Folk Album They’re Calling Me Home by Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi.

Since moving to Ireland in 2004 from the Democratic Republic Of Congo Niwel has settled with his wife and three children and has quickly become a prominent face on the Irish music scene. He has been hailed as ”an exceptional guitar player” by Europe’s leading online Jazz magazine All About Jazz and his music “enchanted” The Irish Times.

He has collaborated with many celebrated Irish musicians such as Sinéad O’Connor, Liam O’Maonlai, Donal Lunny, Glen Hansard, as well as international stars such as Ma Xiaohui (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack), Senegalese legend Baaba Maal, Richard Bona and Nigel Kennedy amongst others.

With influences from far and wide, his elegant and fluent guitar playing draws from his past excursions with African rhythms, rumba, jazz, classical and much more besides.

He spent 5 years working with the Abbey Theatre and performing with a number of Opera productions, before refocusing on his own music, working with his long time collaborator Eamonn Cagney on percussion.

His debut appearance with the Irish Memory Orchestra at London’s Cadogan Hall in 2018 was the latest in a line of collaborations Niwel has had with Dave Flynn including the supergroup DFF and a performance with the Crash Ensemble in Cork Opera House in the world premiere of Flynn’s ensemble work ‘Joy’.

Profile for Niwel Tsumbu