The name Matatu comes from the Swahili word for the minivans and buses used in East Africa as common public transportation.
The experience of riding in a matatu is a memorable one. The vans are typically designed to seat 12 persons but they tend to cram in as many people, animals, and baggage as can fit. That's why we like to say "There's always room for one more in a Matatu!"
Jesse lived in Kenya for over 2 years. He had always been drawn to world music and his journeys in Africa became a great inspiration for what would become the sound of Matatu.
Matatu blends syles of modern folk and rock with African rhythms and percussion. Matatu was formed in Los Angeles, CA in late 2009 as an acoustic trio. The trio began playing coffee houses and cafes in the Los Angeles and Southern California area.
The band has since grown into a full-scale Afro rock band with Scott Jones on drums, Thomas Camillo on bass, and David Helvey on percussion. Matatu consistently plays with many talented players from the Los Angeles African music scene. Kora master Amadou Fall and percussionist Mohammed Alidu can typically be found sitting in with the band.
Matatu is currently playing locally, booking bars, clubs, and festivals in the California region.
They say in a matatu there's always room for one more passenger! So come along on our ride...we'd love to have you along!