Robbi Hall Kumalo is an artist, musician, performer, and writer. Singing and playing piano since a child, Robbi has performed with a host of legendary artists including Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Edie Brickell, John Hiatt, Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart, Mary J. Blige, and Harry Belafonte, among others. In her solo career as a vocal artist, Robbi has brought her larger-than-life stage presence and enticingly beautiful voice to many diverse settings for several decades.
A variety of her business skills behind the scenes were enhanced while working for both Spike Lee and Paul Simon. With these two legends she honed her multi-lingual skills combined with exceptional organizational and project management talents to deliver effective office management, schedule coordination, and tracking of public relations activities to support fundraising and performance related appearances and activities.
Robbi is passionate about arts education. She has spent nearly 40 years working with schools all over the globe as a Teaching Artist and trained in the past at Lincoln Center Institute for Aesthetic Education and as a Teaching Artist and New Jersey State Council for the Arts. Using the arts as a tool to connect to curriculum in history as well as culture and ethics, Robbi has produced joyous and exhilarating programs for school-age children, for venues including the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMoCA). Her presentations combine music, theater, and culture to break from the Euro-centric norm and bring the world community to children.
Whether as a storyteller to young audiences, engaging high school students, or improvising with musicians for seniors, Robbi conveys strong messages about character and inspires people to be loving and open-minded participants in the global community. She's learned to speak five languages—English, Spanish, French, German, Zulu, and Italian—and often performs with a host of personalities and characters that incorporate a variety of accents, dialects, and idioms.
Robbi has many recordings from many years and has released seven CDs- four for adults and three for children.mmissioned by Big Brothers Big Sisters to nurture children by strengthening communities.
After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2014 and proudly was blessed to make her first solo performance at Carnegie Hall in 2015 along side her husband and musical inspiration that invited her into such a magical night of music, Bakithi Kumalo. He joined not only South African Dave Matthews but with South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Thokoza (six-woman choral group)! Following this enchanting evening Robbi, toured internationally as a storyteller with Dream On Productions to Mexico and twice to Argentina before relocating to the northwest to a healthy environment repairing her challenged immune system.