Kelly Takunda Orphan
Kelly Takunda Orphan, a vocalist, percussionist, songwriter and dancer, and a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, has performed music on three continents and in both hemispheres. She draws that musical experience into her songwriting. In 1994, after recording and touring with Babatunde Olatunji and African Rain, Kelly studied music and dance in Zimbabwe and performed for such luminaries as Nelson Mandela with The University of Zimbabwe Choir and Mhembero Dance Company. From 1998-2001, she toured nationally and internationally with Keith Terry and Crosspulse and was the founding member and musical director of the group Mutama, a women's vocal and percussion ensemble.
Along with leading her own band, The KTO Project, she is currently performing with WOW: Women of the World (led by Michelle Jacques), working with The San Francisco Symphonys Adventures in Music Program, performing for over 100 elementary schools in the San Francisco area. With passion and skill, Kelly teaches music to singers and percussionists of all ages. Kelly has also served as a Minister of Music at First Congregational Church of Oakland since 2002.
The KTO Project is a dynamic, danceable world music ensemble, which has been lighting up Bay Area music venues such as Ashkenaz, La Pena Cultural Center, The Oakland Box, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, and Freight & Salvage, just to name a few. The bands infectious beats come from a seasoned lineup of musicians including bassist Victor Little (Booker T, The Family Stone Experience), drummer Manas Itene (Spearhead), keyboardist Bob Crawford (Los Angelitos, Spearhead, Wild Mango), percussionist Silvestre Martinez (Jorge Santana Band, Mazacote), guitarist Tru (Cassandra Wilson), woodwinds player Donna Viscuso (The Snake Trio, Wild Mango), vocalist Michelle Jacques (Street Sounds, Chelle and Friends), and vocalist/percussionist Amber Hines (Albino!, Crosspulse).
Without exception, each of these musicians has brings a wealth of experience into the sound and spirit of The KTO Project. Building on the passion and experience of their founder, The KTO Project takes the listener around the world, connecting us with the love and dreams that unite us, and with the violence, grief and poverty that tear us apart, and with the music that can heal us if we open to its blessed rhythms!
Open your heart and get ready to dance!
Kelly released her 2004 CD Give It to the People, which received rave reviews. EOM Entertainment writes:
I was completely blown away and in love with this artist. Kelly is definitely blessed with the gift of communicating to the people the importance of universal understanding, love, and self awareness in a way that's not forced down your throat like a bad pill, but enjoyed like a great home-cooked meal.