Nokuthula Promotional Information

Nokuthula (pronounced "No-Koo-Too-La") plays contemporary and traditional Afro-pop fusion dance music from Zimbabwe, South Africa and beyond.  The band's roots are in Zimbabwean-style marimba and mbira, but its music is also influenced by jazz, blues, Latin, Afro-Cuban, Haitian and other world music. Nokuthula's music is joyous, energetic and upbeat with driving rhythms and mesmerizing vocals.  A Nokuthula performance takes one on a musical journey and includes 1,000 year old traditional mbira songs, jazz-influenced township music and popular dance songs of South Africa, controversial anti-war music of Zimbabwe, traditional Cuban and West African drum songs, contemporary Zimbabwean compositions, Mozambican folk music, and a hint of American jazz.


Nokuthula's members hail from some of the very best African marimba, Afro-pop and jazz ensembles in the Denver metro area, with individual experience spanning classical, jazz, blues, music theater, world, folk and rock.  Andre Mallinger, one of the first Zimbabwean-style marimba players in Colorado, and the long-standing director of Tobatana Marimba and the Low Flying Knobs, is the band's musical director and lead soprano marimbist.  Joining her are Karna Knapp on bass and vocals; Barbara Kulton on the traditional mbira dza vadzimu (Zimbabwean "thumb piano") and hosho (gourd shakers); John Leventhal on tenor marimba and vocals; Mary McHenry on lead vocals; Dexter Payne on saxophone, flute and harmonica; and Scott Mast on drums.


Nokuthula has taken the traditional large Zimbabwean marimba ensemble, shrunk it down, added new sounds and instrumentation, and created something decidedly different with enough of a musical edge to keep you moving!  The name "Nokuthula" means "Mother of Peace" in the Ndebele language of Zimbabwe.  We hope that our music helps to spread peace throughout the world.



Nokuthula performs in a variety of configurations, depending on the size and nature of the event.  Our full lineup consists of 6-8 members, and provides a rich, lively, authentic Afro-pop sound.  We also perform as a smaller ensemble of 2-5 players, which can provide a quieter, more "acoustic" sound for your event.  A small ensemble might include a trio or quartet of marimbas and percussion, with or without vocals, or even marimbas only.


Past Performances Include:

  • Dazzle Jazz Club, Denver, CO
  • Crestone Music Festival, Crestone, CO
  • Boulder Fall Fest, Boulder, CO
  • Greeley Arts Festival, Greeley, CO
  • Cooper Creek Square, Winter Park, CO
  • St. Julian Hotel and Spa, Boulder, CO
  • Denver Hyatt Regency Hotel and Convention Center, Denver, CO
  • Spice of Life Events Center, Boulder, CO
  • Caffe Sole, Boulder, CO
  • Lakeshore Athletic Club, Broomfield, CO
  • Numerous schools, libraries, cafes, clubs, restaurants, and charitable events



For large outdoor venues, such as a festival stage, we must utilize your sound and lighting systems.  For smaller venues, we can provide our own amplification.  No lighting is provided. For outdoor performances, we require a minimum of a 15' X 20' covered space.



Performance rates vary depending on the size of the venue, length of performance, configuration of the ensemble, travel distance, and logistics.  We do give discounts for schools and charitable events.  Please contact us for booking and rates.


Band contacts are:

John Leventhal and Andre Mallinger



PO Box 186

Rollinsville, CO 80474


or you can contact us through our website (contact us) or by email at