Kevin Nathaniel Hylton graduated Yale University in 1982 as Scholar of the House for fine arts. He has since devoted himself to music – African music in particular. He performs on several traditional African instruments and builds them as well. He is founding member of four music groups, Spirit Ensemble, Heritage O P, Forestdance, and Kaleidhaphonic, all of which currently perform in NYC and internationally. Kevin is a known composer of African-inspired contemporary music. He writes songs, lyrics, poetry, and essays on music and instruments. He has composed and recorded for the audio version of Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy, for the film Beloved, as well as several documentaries. His workshops and lecture/demos have been presented at Lincoln Center, Juilliard, University of Michigan, Wesleyan University, and several other institutions. In 2005 he and Hasan Bakr were commissioned by Carnegie Hall to write and direct the fall Family Concert titled “DIndinyaa”. With Symphony Space he has helped create a program for African music that visits NYC schools and produces a concert every December. As an advocate for African culture he has been called the “Johnny Appleseed” of the mbira because he has taught tens of thousands of people all over the world the art of mbira making and playing.

Trained musically in the ancient master-disciple tradition, Kevin is an accomplished percussionist and well-known specialist on the mbira and the shekere. He worked extensively with Zimbabwe’s mbira legend Ephat Mujuru, and with master drummer Chief Bey. Along with 9 recordings he has produced, his music is also available on the Narada collection “African Voices”, and the Ellipsis Arts release “African Dreams”. His most recent release, Mbira Magical, is available at

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