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Adolfo Makuntima Makwiza (Ado Makuntima) has been contributing to the African music scene in Toronto for over ten years. In fact, he was the first African-Canadian to found an African musical group here. Although he admits that it is challenging to live as an artist in Canada, he has wide fan base of support across this country, especially from African music lovers who love to dance to it.
Despite the social, political and economic hardships of living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, dance and celebration are part of every day life. Ado knows how to enjoy and appreciate life and his music is an emotional expression of what it has to offer. The hip-swinging rhythms and electrifying guitar of African rumba and Soukous define his classic Congolese style.
Ado was born in a small village in Congo near the Angola border. As a boy, he moved with his Congolese mother and Angolan father to Kinshasa where he was exposed to a tapestry of melodies and rhythms. Raised in a Catholic family, he was singing in Church at an early age and performing solo by the age of fifteen. He believes his musical talent was inherited. There are many musicians in his family, including his brother, who has long served as a source of inspiration to him.
Ado is proficient on the drums and voice; and is multilingual, singing in: Lingala, French, Kikongo, Italian and English. Living in many other countries, he spent a year in Angola, two in Italy and eight months in Boston, MA before immigrating to Canada.
Studying pedagogy and philosophy in Congo; philosophy in Rome, Italy; and obtaining a degree in sociology from Glendon College, York University's francophone campus, and a further degree in education from University of Ottawa. Ado is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers (Canada). He is currently a full time French teacher for the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
In addition to this demanding career he produces a weekly television program for OMNI television, which is targeted for the French speaking African community in Canada.
He is also the proud father of a daughter with whom he spends as much remaining time as possible.
At one time, Ado thought seriously of becoming a priest and spirituality continues to penetrate his work. He openly embraces other religions and finds commonality between them, which explains why at the present time he is in his final year of a master's degree in theology.
In his songs, he reflects on good and evil, and questions human suffering. Love is also a major theme in his work, whether referring to a personal relationship or to the love between people of different cultures. There are no psychological or racial barriers in his music. "We are all brothers and sisters," summarizes his views best. "We are all one race, like a tree with several branches".
Adolfo Makuntima Makwiza loves to perform and audiences always insist on encores. In August 1993, he was the first African musician to showcase his music at Harbourfront's Molson Place. After two solid hours of playing, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that he played for two additional hours. He has appeared on CFMT television in 1991, Radio-Canada in 1996, TVO in 1998, City TV in 1998, TFO in 1999, Open Mike with Mike Bullard (CTV) in 1999 and has also been featured on many radio stations.
Ado's third CD "Extreme Joy" reflects his diverse influences. Highly energetic, profoundly spiritual, and deeply intuitive both lyrically and musically, it lifts the spirit and soothes the soul. Although the lyrics often analyze serious topics such a forced marriage and political divisions in Africa, there is always a joyous element to his music. Ultimately, it entertains and invites us to dance, even if the dance floor happens to be in our own living rooms! A fourth CD "Reaching for the Sun" was released in the spring of 2004. 2006 was also a great year when, in the summer, Ado gave three consecutive concerts at the Beach Jazz Festival in Toronto. In 2007 he released his fifth, and latest, CD "Humiliation". The single track "Mr. Smith”"was an overnight hit in Kinshasa.
Even though he is a well known and widely traveled musician, he still hopes to find the financial means to pursue his musical career with full the dedication it deserves. The music world anxiously awaits more inspiring sounds from this most talented and dedicated independent musician.
ADOLFO MAKUNTIMA MAKWIZA (ADO)