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Saturday, June 15
7:00 PM
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Kuumbwa Jazz Presents

Ekep Nkwelle

6:00 PM
All Ages
Dinner Specials can be purchased in advance or at the counter (subject to availability). To guarantee the purchase of the Dinner Special, please order in advance. The menu will be posted to this event page as soon as it is selected by our chef. If you are purchasing a dinner before the menu is announced, you will receive the menu via email within a week of the concert date. Please click the ‘Café Kuumbwa' button above for more information. Thank you!

Ekep Nkwelle, a 24-year-old Cameroonian-American jazz vocalist, has carved her musical path from the vibrant streets of Washington, DC, to the heart of New York City’s jazz scene. Her journey through the esteemed Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Howard University, and The Juilliard School has been extraordinary.

The power of her voice has resonated with jazz luminaries such as Russell Malone, Cyrus Chestnut, and Peter Washington, along with young stars like Emmet Cohen and Endea Owens, leading to countless collaborations. Her performances have graced iconic venues nationwide, from the illustrious Radio City Music Hall, where she shared the stage with classical virtuoso Lang Lang in collaboration with Disney, to The Library of Congress, Blues Alley, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and The Strathmore. Her presence has also illuminated major festivals, including Newport, Montclair, Hudson, and DC jazz festivals.

The year 2023 marked a pinnacle in Ekep’s career as she was honored with the prestigious Juilliard Career Advancement Grant, a testament to her artistry and character, nominated by none other than jazz master trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. With a burning passion for music, Nkwelle’s artistry knows no bounds as she endeavors to share her soulful melodies with audiences worldwide. Nkwelle will be joined on this concert date by pianist Luther Allison, bassist Russell Hall, and drummer Domo Branch.

Ekep Nkwelle Website
Sponsored by Debbie King – Transformational Leadership Partners
(Ticket Includes 5% City of Santa Cruz Admission Tax)


Kuumbwa Jazz Center
320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, 95060 United States
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