The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Afro D & Global Soundwaves brings new variety to CU

Photo courtesy of Virgil Ward

Afro D & Global Soundwaves is a hip-hop-jazz-funk fusion band formed in Champaign-Urbana by Pete “Afro D” Shungu in 2019. 

Shungu, professor in FAA, is the band’s MC, trumpeter and bandleader. 

The band consists of Mitchell Killough, a founding member, on bass; Lawrence Parks on alto saxophone; James “Jamie” Mauck on drums; Brighton Sier on keyboard; and a new vocalist, J’Lyn Hope.

This is Shungu’s second variation of his band, with the first being a combo called “Afro D All Starz” based in Boston. During his time in Boston, Shungu also toured with The Eclectic Collective. 

Despite his success in the Boston music scene, Shungu ultimately chose to pursue a career in higher education.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Shungu settled in Champaign about seven years ago and sought out a musical community. He met University alum Killough at a “Soul on Sunday” event at the now-closed Iron Post venue, and eventually decided to start a band with the bassist.

The Champaign-Urbana music scene is historically rich with Midwestern folk and alternative music. Shungu said the hip-hop scene, while less visible, has always been here.

“I feel like the hip-hop scene and the live-band music scene, we’re pretty disconnected,” Shungu said. “I feel like our band is part of this movement that’s really like uniting these different scenes.”

Shungu said hip-hop is often stigmatized, and the band attempts to introduce new audiences to the genre using jazz fusion.

“They have a certain image,” Shungu said. “But we’re unabashedly hip-hop, that’s a big part of what we do.” 

The band explores the melding of genres within their music, and Shungu, the primary lyricist, brings a mix of cultures. The musician said he derives inspiration from his early years living on the East Coast as well as his Congolese heritage.

“The Congolese aspect of my culture, it comes out here and there in my music … even in my clothes,” Shungu said, wearing an African wax-printed shirt patterned with black and white faces. “I rock a shirt like this at a show, and say ‘OK, that’s something different.’”

Killough spoke about how the band uses different cultures in its music and said the group likes to take a song in its original form and add to it by making it stylistically different and writing new verses. Shungu added that this is a common practice in the hip-hop genre.

“Hip-hop is a sampling culture,” Shungu said. “Hip-hop is a culture in which you take another culture, and you remix it in a way that makes it fresh.”

This is executed in the band’s song “Kids and Teachers,” a remix of Snoop Dogg’s “Gz and Hustlas.” Shungu said he wrote his lyrics about the importance of building young people up and the role of educators in society.

Shungu said that while the original song isn’t for all ages, remixes can be used as an avenue to show respect to his inspirations while reflecting his values.

“I grew up listening to ’90s hip-hop,” Shungu said. “I want to pay homage to, but also recognize, that there’s elements of misogyny in some of that music that I don’t necessarily want to personally reflect.” 

Shungu said one of the main goals of his lyricism is to reflect himself but also speak to the broader human experience.

“I want to be intentional about spitting something that is affirming of people of different identities and not afraid to speak to the power,” Shungu said.

Afro D & Global Soundwaves plays throughout the C-U community at local schools, libraries and music venues.

“Sometimes we might be the first live hip-hop band kids at those events have ever heard,” Shungu said. “And (if) one of those kids decide they want to start rapping or play an instrument, that’s as important as anything I can do as a musician.”

Shungu said he tends to book the band for early shows to make their music accessible to all ages. In January, he celebrated his birthday by hosting a show at the Rose Bowl Tavern. During the performance, children could draw and color while listening.

“At the end of the show … there were probably four or five children of different ages that came up to the stage and were checking out the instruments and talking to us,” Killough said.

Shungu added that using music to create a unique space was a way to build community throughout C-U.

“When I talk about building community, I feel like one of my goals is to play shows where people who don’t normally interact with each other are just all there in this space, where they can build with each other,” Shungu said.

Afro D & Global Soundwaves will also perform with the Wisconsin-native D’Funk & The Grease Monkeys for a Soulful Funky Jazzy Vibes Event on March 27 at Gallery Art Bar.


[email protected]

More to Discover
ILLordle: Play now