Press, Reviews, Quotes

“John’s doing some quite brave things. It’s hard to mix cultural strains together and have continuity. He does that wonderfully.” 

-David Bowie (in conversation with journalist Iris Brooks) 

“Live Music is such a luxury. John creates a special environment, transforming the room. You can’t help but be moved – literally.” 

-Donna Karan (Woman to Woman magazine) 

“McDowell gives musical expression to the gestures of creation itself.”

-Utne Reader, review of CD Speaking the Mamma Tongue

“(The performance) was a great success, and the music was a fine fusion of jazz and African … beautiful original music … The audience loved the performance … the musicians are first rate, and (John McDowell’s) work on keyboards is so good that I wish we could do a concert focusing just on it.”

-Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors

“Fascinating, original music” 

-NRC Handelsbad, Amsterdam 

“The ensemble mesmerized the audience and critics alike with its adept blend of jazzy, African, and classical music.” 

-Portland Express, Portland 

“The musicians set the first measure in a symphony of rhythm and drive that, from then on, did not pause.”

-De Typhoon, Amsterdam 

“American/Gambian band Mamma Tongue tore up the asphalt on St. Catherine’s, July 3rd at the Montreal Jazz Festival” 

-The Gazette Montreal 

” A precisely balanced bridge of sound between African and American music … penetrating . . ” 

-People and Melody, Brussels

“Every musician on stage was highly trained, skilled, and sensitive…the playing of the ensemble was tremendous, precise, yet flexible for improv opportunities. Your driving force coming to a conclusion was exciting to observe. You had the audience sitting on the edge of their seats –– throughout the entire concert….”

—Dan Perrino, Professor of Music, University of Illinois;
reviewing the BIB Ensemble’s performance at the Chicago
World Music Festival

“The soundtrack, the winner of more than 20 international awards, is a true gem. John McDowell, known for bringing together tribal roots and cutting-edge technology, has composed a wonderful score that perfectly meshes with the cinematography.”

—Andrew Tiebout/Staff Writer The Ithacan

“The music is beautiful; I want everyone to have the opportunity to be embraced by it.”

—Sharon Gannon, Co-Founder, Jivamukti Yoga

“The music by John McDowell, featuring both chanting and Western sounds, ideally complements the action. “Born into Brothels” is a triumph of the spirit for all involved. “

—James Greenberg, Sundance Film Festival