BOSTON- Sunday, April 27, 2014 The Hibernian Hall auditorium erupted with applause as Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor (Morgan James Peters) took to the stage to accept his "Best Male Jazz" award at the 9th Annual Urban Music Awards, followed by a performance of his international hit song, "Just Is.." for an enthusiastic audience of over 200 people. A previous winner, in 2010 and 2012 in the same category, this yeas competition was particularly stiff with regional jazz festival favorites, Elan Troutman, Walter Beasley and Andre Ward as nominees in the same category.
Mwalim's latest album, "Awakened By A Noon Day Sun" (LMMGM/ Spirit Wind Records, 2014) has been attracting the attention of jazz as well as Native American radio stations and formatted shows with his signature 'NDN Jazz' style. A Mashpee Wampanoag, Mwalim points to the melodic structure and style of Eastern Native American songs as a significant influence on his songwriting and composition.
Mwalim is a tenured professor of English and the Director of Black Studies at UMass Dartmouth as well as a multi-award-winning playwright. He is also the keyboard player and a singer with the regional soul-funk band, The Groovalottos who perform at the Weary Traveler's Club in Monument Beach on the second Saturday of each month.
The ceremony was packed with a literal who's who of musicians, singers, producers, promoters, and radio personalities of New England's urban music professionals; drawing from Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Main and Massachusetts.Qualifying nominees are voted on by the general public on-line. According to New England Urban Music Award officials, this years award drew votes from around the world including Indonesia, Japan, Germany, Nigeria, Senegal, the U.K., and the West Indies.
According to New England Urban Music Awards founder, Charles Clemmons, “The New England Urban Music Awards is an opportunity to experience the vast musical talent the region has to offer. Artists are tapping into their greatness. The artists are empowering and the music showcases talent that the audience will appreciate. The program is where we get to inspire and highlight artist from New England and beyond.”