"Cheza" (pronounced like "ch" in choose
and "ez" in feza) is a Swahili word that means "to
dance, to play." Cheza's music has been described as
Afro-pop, "garage-soukous", and folk-African fusion.
Cheza was formed in 1993 by singer-guitar player
Paul lived briefly in Senegal, west Africa where his interest
in African music began. The search for others who shared his
love of African styles led to the formation of Cheza. Band
members include: Phil Bova (drums), Pat Giunta (guitar and
vocals), Rob Graves (percussion), Stella Haybukhai (vocals),
Neema Mugala (vocals), and Stuart Watkins (bass).
The music of Cheza is a blend of African styles with rock
and folk influences -- a new-world hybrid. The result is a
collection of songs with strong choral harmonies and fluid
inter-playing guitars, all unified by an irresistible dance
beat. Song themes range from strong statements of the human
spirit to Canadian history to hot spices. Lyrics are sung
in English, French, Xhosa, Portuguese, Zulu and Swahili.
Nicholas Jennings, Toronto Eye:
Their music bubbles with the sparkling sound of soukous
and swings to the buoyant beat of mbaqanga . . . Cheza can
hold its own with any number of African based acts.
On stage Cheza provides an exciting live show, performing
original songs arranged and written by band members. Cheza
has travelled across Canada playing at venues such as the
Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Afrofest
in Toronto, and the Dawson City Music Festival. In 1999 Cheza
was awarded the best World/Folk Act by the readers of the
Xpress. Cheza has also performed at showcases for North
by Northeast and the Ontario Arts Council.
Jennifer Edwards, Artistic Director, Dawson City Music
Cheza's world beat rhythms, thought provoking lyrics, and
ability to work the crowd into a frenzied mass of flailing
arms and legs, prove that this band has caught on to something
If you want to hire Cheza or be put onto our mailing list
to be notified of upcoming shows, drop us a line at info(AT)cheza(DOT)ca
Nous somme bilingues.