World Music Program Alumni - NIU - College of Visual and Performing Arts

World Music Alumni

NIU World Music Alumni 2009-present

Congratulations to alum Mathew Tembo on being admitted to the prestigious PhD program in Ethnomusicology (Fall 2016) at the University of Pittsburg! 

Alumni  2009-present


Area of Study

Position, Awards, Performance Credits, Reviews

Aboud Agha (MM, 2013)

World music research

PhD candidate in ethnomusicology, UCLA

Mathew Tembo (MM, 2013)

World music performance

Admitted to the PhD program at the University of Pittsburg (Fall 2016)

Touring singer, song writer, and recording artist active in Ethiopia, Zambia, Europe, and the U.S.


  • Awarded best Afro-fusion for the song “Nandunge” from the album, “Anthem”, his first album to feature Zambian traditional instruments, at the 2008 Born and Bred Awards in Zambia


  • Martin Sinnock in the 2009 Songlines referred to him as a worthy successor of both the reggae superstar Lucky Dube and the creator of Chimurenga music Thomas Mapfumo.

Omar al Musfi (MM, 2012)

World music performance


  • Adjunct professor in world music, Waubonsee College;
  • Director of the Middle Eastern Ensemble, NIU

Selected performance credits:

  • Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project
  • Contemporary pop artists such as Sting and Shakira

Joe Kinzer (MM, 2012)

World music research

PhD candidate in ethnomusicology, University of Washington, Seattle

Fellowship Awards:

  • Fulbright-Hays (Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad) Malaysia (2015-2016)
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship in Bahasa Indonesia (2013-2014)

Amirah Ali (MM, 2009)

World music performance

Malaysian world pop singer/song writer active in Southeast Asia


  • The ISC International Songwriting Competition 2011 2nd Place
  • The John Lennon Songwriting Competition Finalist 2010
  • Winner for Best Overall Female Act and Best Performer VIMA 2013

Selected Performance Clips of Alum

World Music Alum Aboud Agha (MM 2013), Arabic Music

Aboud Agha (MM 2013), Arabic Music  

Aboud Agha with Michigan Arab Ochestra

Alum Amirah Ali (MM 2009), singer/songwriter Amirah Ali

Amirah Ali (MM 2009), Singer/Songwriter

"Mathew Tembo

Mathew Tembo (MM 2013), Afro-pop singer/songwriter

Mathew Tembo Africa Unite Interview