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Guerilla Arts Ink | Meet Maimouna Youssef


Meet Maimouna Youssef

Maimouna “Luna E” Youssef is a seasoned singer, emcee, songwriter and poet. The Baltimore native was born into a family of exceptional artists. She began performing traditional African and Native American songs on stage with her family at the age of five. As a youth she joined the Baltimore/Washington based musical theater group called Uprising.

Maimouna toured nationally with Uprising as a lead vocalist. In addition, the young Youssef played a leading role in the Broadway musical “Once on this Island”. Other theatrical experiences include the original trio showcase “Three Generations” that consisted of Maimouna Youssef, her mother, Nataska HumminBird, and her grandmother, Mountain Eagle Woman.

At 16 Youssef along with her cousin Omari “AzIz” Forman-Bey, formed the jazz/hip-hop/funk/ band, called Cirius B. In the spring of 2003 the duo completed the recording of their independent debut album entitled “Subversive Activity”. Baltimore welcomed Cirius B with open arms. Cirius B quickly became one of Baltimore’s preeminent bands without exception to genre. Also in 2003, Maimouna Youssef won the title of “Baltimore’s Idol” appearing frequently on Baltimore’s Fox 45 morning show as well as every major local radio station including 92.3FM’s Big Phat Morning show.

In 2004 Luna E and band mate AzIz relocated to Philadelphia to work with Grammy Award winning producer, James Poyser. There, Youssef’s dreams began to materialize when she was introduced to many of her favorite and most respected artists including the legendary hip-hop band The Roots. Youssef was asked to sing lead vocals on their new hit single at the time, “Don’t Feel Right.” Shortly thereafter, she was packing her bags as she joined the Roots on their world tour. She began swapping musical licks with such artists as Angelique Kidjo, Brian Wilson’s band, Big Daddy Kane, Nas, Dead Prez, Wilco, Zap Mama, Cody Chestnut, Martin Luther, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli. Youssef rocked the stages of many renowned venues such as Denver Colorado ‘s Red Rocks Amphitheater, New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, and Switzerland’s Moniteau Jazz Festival. Her musical endeavors were a springboard for Youssef to make her big screen debut in Dave Chapelle’s hip hop documentary “Block Party.”

Maimouna received a Grammy nomination for her contribution on the Roots hit “Don’t Feel Right” in 2007 for best rap song.

Maimouna is currently in the studio recording her debut solo album. Youssef describes the album as, “feel good music” layered with colorful harmonies and sincere lyrics that revere the past styles we all love, while ushering in a new wave of sound.

You can follow her progress online at her site: www.mumufresh.com