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Azeem Ward

Paul Wellman

Azeem Ward


Azeem Ward and His Magic Flute

UCSB Student and Internet Meme Tours the U.K.


“Cheeky Nandos” is apparently a U.K. flame-grilled-peri-peri-chicken -restaurant-turned-pop-catchphrase describing the greatest thing you can have. Internet meme — and UCSB student — flute sensation Azeem Ward has become a musical metaphor of the Cheeky Nandos and has launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund his U.K. tour with music collaborator Timmy Linetsky, aka DJ Underbelly. The pair raised more than $3,000 for tour expenses, including airfare, transportation, and accommodation, for the Azeem X Underbelly tour and is currently performing at various U.K. universities, including University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and Leeds College of Music, Oxford, as well as in Manchester, Bath, London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Birmingham, Durham, Bristol, and Cambridge.

Linetsky, a third-year UCSB film student, approached Ward after an open-mike-night display of his flute beat-boxing. Jamming together ever since, the duo has established a unique mix of jazz, hip-hop, and trap, with DJ Underbelly providing the beats and Ward improvising on top of them. Their set consists of about 50 percent covers and 50 percent original material, and they play either chilled-out jazzy hip-hop for traditional music venues or more upbeat hip-hop trap for club venues.

They made their first music video, which was featured on KEYT, in the Pardall Tunnel, which links Isla Vista to UCSB. Gaining momentum, they decided to reach out to presidents and event managers at student unions in Great Britain and were able to book gigs for many a university welcome-back week known as Freshers. Their U.K. fans have been appreciative and supportive, always taking selfies with Ward. Check out their music video collaborations with U.K. artists on YouTube.

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