AFRISSIPPI Guelel Kumba comes from the Futa Tooro region of West Africa, and is a member of the FULANI people, nomadic cow people who spent centuries in the North African desert when it was still green before settling on the Atlantic Coast where many were captured by their enemies and sold into slavery. Kumba was born into the West African social caste known as GRIOTS, who pass down a millenniums worth of oral tradition including songs, stories, and lineages. As a youngster Kumba learned the molo, the one string guitar, and at age 8, the six string. When he was 20, he heard John Lee Hooker. “The blues is close to my music. The lyrics are different, but the emotions are the same,” he says. “I loved the melodies but I was too young to understand the anguish yet.” The nucleus of AFRISSIPPI was born when Eric Deaton, apprentice of the late JUNIOR KIMBROUGH, invited Guelel to explore the hill country sound of North Mississippi. Eric carried Guelel to the home of bluesman R.L. BURNSIDE where they discovered the eerie similarities between some of Guelels Senegalese folk melodies and those of R.L. & JUNIOR, the patriarchs of the hill country boogie and cottonpatch trance blues. With R.L.s blessing, Guelel & Eric recruited his son and grandson, Garry & Cedric Burnside, as rhythm section. When they left to launch Burnside Exploration, Kumba hired Juniors son and drummer, Kinney Kimbrough of Chulahoma and bassist Justin Showah (Jimbo Mathus, Cary Hudson Trio, Taylor Grocery Band) of Oxford, Mississippi.