Episode 355: Bonus - Michael Mwenso (of Mwenso and the Shakes)

7Aug

At 15, Michael Mwenso was on stage with James Brown. It took the Sierra Leonean teenager four years to convince the godfather of soul to let him up there, through a combination of raw talent and persistence. But once he did, he wowed the crowds and Brown alike. It was then that Mwenso got a taste for the stage and learned the dos and don’ts of management from one of the late-20th century’s great band leaders. Those lessons were applied first to his Wynton Marsalis-appointed role as a curator for Jazz at Lincoln Center and more recently as the frontman for Mwenso and the Shakes, whose debut album, Emergence, drops this month. Carrying three large shopping bags filled with stage costumes, Mwenso sat down to discuss his journey.