About the Band
Positively Africa is an African fusion band based in Lake Worth, Florida. It was founded by Julius Sanna along with the help and encouragement of his wife Julia. On the bass is Cleveland, Marijah plays the percussion, HotRod Parker on drums and Bernard is on Sax. The band works with African dancers whenever the occassion calls for it. The music of Positively Africa is vibrant, exciting, get-down-and dance, wholesome and informative. Positively Africa band performs for corporate events, non-profits, faith-based organizations, schools, festivals and special events including weddings. We are dedicated to "telling the other side of the African story" through music and presentations on positive developments in Africa. There's more to the continent than famine, war and poverty. We encourage investment in Africa through business, education, tourism, healthcare and positive media coverage.
Julius Sanna, Founder, Band leader.
Julius Sanna was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His family moved to Nairobi, Kenya a year or so after his birthday. His father is from the Luo tribe in Kenya and his mother is Zigua from Tanzania. He comes from a large musical family. His dad plays the sax and his brothers and sisters are also accomplished musicians. He grew up singing and playing the guitar and keyboards in churches in Nairobi. He also helped his dad start The Sanna Jazz Band which is still active today in the Nairobi jazz scene. He moved to the US and went to college in Oklahoma earning a BSc in Computer Networking technologies. Julius was exposed to a wide variety of genres including jazz, soul, Afropop, gospel, rock, classical and reggae. He listens to Louis Armstrong, George Benson and Richard Bona as well as Prince and John Mayer. He now lives in South Florida with his wife Julia and their two boys, Jude and Jordan. He serves as a worship & youth minister in Lake Worth. Julius is on a quest to blend all his influences and paint them with African colors. This is the musical foundation of Positively Africa. Let's groove!
Julia Sanna, Co-founder
Julia Sanna is a vocalist & African drummer who began performing at age 14 in Kenya before going on a US tour in 1994-'96 with Youth For Christ Intl. She sang in the Potter's House choir in Dallas, Texas while in college in 1997. She has since been singing in church worship bands besides performing with Positively Africa. She has a graduate degree in counseling psychology and marriage & family therapy. She works as a church family counselor in Lake Worth, Florida and also teaches relationship classes as a registered marriage preparation provider.
Cleveland is arguably among the most versitle bass players in South Florida. He can play anything from Chick Corea to Osibisa. He can adapt to any style instantiously. He joined the band after sitting in on a gig that he had not prepared for. That night, he played on pure instints and amazing foresight as Julius Sanna, the band leader called the songs. He was asked to join on the spot. This has made him a perfect fit for Positively Africa. He studys the music and applys subtle but effective tone and note variations the make the bass lines "pop" out of the music whithout overwhelming the bottom line. His Island background and undeniable Jaco Pastorious influences make Positively Africa groove like you've never heard.
Marijah was born in Newark, New Jersey but her musical territory goes far beyond that. She is well traveled and exposed to a wide variety of genres. She has been in the company of percussionists from Africa, Cuba, Brazil just to mention a few. Her addition to Positively Africa creates energy and vibrance. She is also an accomplished singer and songwriter and performs with her raggae band "Marijah and the Reggae All stars" in the South Florida scene. Marijah lives in lake Worth, FL. She teaches drumming to children in the Palm Beach County School District, and is also available to do workshops and private lessons.
To be a successful fusion band you need a drummer that anchors the the individual units and keeps the rhythm grooving. Rod is the man! He has years of experince in jazz, rock and blues. He joined Positively Africa and adapted so well to the African rhythms and styles. He is a skillful judge of "feel" and enjoys poly- rhymthms which are important in Africa music. Rod lives in Royal Palm beach where he enjoys to BBQ and relax by the pool.
Bernard has played with Positively Africa since its inception. He has been more than just a musician in the band. He is the voice of reason. Born in the Bahamas, Ben has always loved Africa music. It is evident from the way he blows the horn. You hear sounds from artists live Manu Dibango and Osibisa. He also plays additional percussions making the band rhythimically heavy and tight. Bernard lives in Royal Palm Beach, FL.