NPR’s AfroPop WorldWide states, “Spears utilizes the traditional African instrument and tweaks it to create a soulful, funky sound that would make Stevie Wonder smile.”
“Kevin Spears puts on a performance full of groove, sound and intimacy that draws you into his unique yet universal world”. -Benoit Glazer, Musical Director, Cirque Du SOLEIL
Hailed by many as one of the best kalimba players alive today, Kevin Spears has raised and rewritten what is possible on the traditional African instrument called kalimba. As a one-man ensemble, Spear’s mastery of the kalimba, customized musical gadgets, tiny synths and experimental percussion allow him to create live a fusion of world, jazz and folktronica that moves you’re feet and stirs your soul.
Not only does he perform, Kevin makes his own kalimbas, including an electronic version that he connects to a custom pedalboard he designed that would make any guitarist envious. It is amazing to see and hear how he takes a seemingly small instrument and squeezes so much sound from it, and perhaps this is the reason that he is often compared to musical legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Herbie Hancock and Les Paul, among others. As a lecturer and clinician, Kevin’s enthusiastic and thought-provoking performance lectures have been presented by professional and academic organizations around the country including: 50th Anniversary of the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), NAMM Show (National Association of Music Manufacturers), SAM ASH Music Store, Asheville Percussion Festival, Jazz Funk Africa Festival (Yokohama Japan), Georgia State University, DrumStrong Festival, and more.
Click here to read a TEDxGreenville Q & A with Kevin.