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    We've been nominated for a Juno!

    I am thrilled and humbled to share that Njacko Backo and Kalimbas At Work has been nominated for a 2021 Juno Award!

    J'aime Mon École  was nominated in the Children's Album of the Year category.

    This is my first Juno nomination, the first time that I have recorded music that I've written for children, and the first time that I've worked with a Producer in the studio (the incredible Ken Whiteley).

    For more than 30 years, I have worked for children in schools, camps, libraries and after school programs. I can tell you that children make the best bosses. Nothing has ever brought me as much joy as working for them. I believe that every child on this planet of ours is 100% an angel. Working with them all these years has helped me understand that life is so beautiful and full of joy. Children don't know how to lie, if they don't like something they tell you straight. WIth kids, music is like a river that flows. When you know how to bring it to them, joy has no end. 

    Musically this album marks a new phase for my musical career. Earlier in my life I put myself inside my music, but not 100% because the first priority in my life was to raise my three older kids.  Now, with only my fourth kid (Nkoni) at home to raise, I can dedicate myself to writing and practicing and playing music. Caring for Nkoni gave me much of the inspiration for this album. After his mom went back to work, Nkoni and I had a lot of time in the studio to play music together. Every time I take him to the skate park, I bring my kalimba or my ngoni to practice for the love of all the children in the park.  I give thanks to God for the courage and the love to finally set me down with true dedication to my art.

    I also thank the musicians for their patience, following me through this journey that sometimes I don't even know how to start or how to finish. But together we always come through. All these years playing music and doing recordings, that was my own school. I didn't have the opportunity to study music in school, but I was blessed to grow and to be raised deep in the tradition that music is life. I'm humbled today that the little boy from Bazou, with kalimba and drums, has been blessed by being nominated for Children's Album of the Year. I think that it is a beautiful door that is opening for me and Kalimbas At Work.

    I’m grateful for my band Kalimbas At Work who understand me and have worked so hard with me to make this album what it is:

    • Anne Lederman - 4 & 5 string violin, kailmba, backing vocals
    • Walter Maclean - congas, cahon, shakere, cybals, percussion
    • Valery Woloshyn - kalimba, ngongoma, percussion, backing vocals

     

    Thank you also to guest musicians Ken Whiteley (banjo, mandolin, guitar, lap steel guitar, backing vocals), Joseph Callender (flute, saxophone), and the choir students from Withrow Public School along with their choir director Anne Massicotte and music teacher Sarah Parker.

    I’m also grateful for the knowledge, experience and understanding of Ken Whiteley who produced this album with so much care and soul. A big thank you to Nik Tjelios our sound engineer who recorded and mixed at Casa Wroxton Studio, and Andy Krehm who mastered at Silverbirch.

    Thank you also to Conseil des arts de l'Ontario/Ontario Arts Council for providing funding for the recording.

    The perfectly playful album artwork is by our incredibly talented and dear friend Wes Tyrell.

    Right now I am really looking for a publisher for my children's stories. I have self-published one before (Baki and the Magic Egg), and I have more stories ready to go - The Lion Who Wanted to be a Vegetarian, The Last Dinosaur, and The Lion and the Zebra. If anyone out there has a connection to share to help me get these out, please get in touch.

    I have come to understand that God cannot help you if you are not trying to help yourself. I thank God for this nomination. Big love to everyone.

    Njacko Backo

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