Like Stella (the two are sisters), Neema grew up singing harmonies. To anyone watching Neema perform, it soon becomes apparent that she loves to sing. Her wide vocal range, her fluid, clear voice, and her keen ear for rhythm and harmony are truly inspiring.
Though Neema has spent a greater part of her life in Ottawa, her interest in African music exceeds that of older sister, Stella. She is the director and lead singer of the Sifa Choir, a group of 15 performers of African descent. As well, Neema sings with the gospel choir Voices of Praise, and is a lead singer in Cheza, the world beat band. In addition to all of the above, Neema is a designer and painter and works full-time at the Tanzanian Embassy in Ottawa! She graduated from Carleton University in 1992 with a degree in art history and architecture.
Like all the other members of Malaika, Neema is an accomplished songwriter and arranger. She prefers the sounds of languages such as French and Swahili for her compositions. Neema is a terrific dancer, and likes choreographing stage moves for the group.
Among Neema's musical favourites are Miriam Makeba, Zaire singer Franco, Joan Armatrading and Rickie Lee Jones. She is also a fan of soukous music.
© 2000 Malaika