Watch Amaarae’s supersized Tiny Desk Concert

The Ghanaian-American singer-songwriter brought an eye-popping 11-piece backing band to NPR’s Tiny Desk studio.

June 22, 2023

Amaarae is the latest artist to grace NPR’s Tiny Desk studio with her presence. It’s now common practice to squeeze a large ensemble into that famously small space, but the Ghanaian-American singer-songwriter outdid herself, bringing in an 11-piece backing band for a seven-song set — five tracks from her just-released sophomore album, Fountain Baby, and two from her 2020 debut LP, THE ANGEL YOU DON’T KNOW — that seamlessly fused buoyant Afrobeats grooves with smooth pockets of American R&B. Other highlights of the show included shoutouts to all of the star signs and the fact that everyone but Amaarae was wearing a shirt with a different lyric from one of the songs they played.


Amaarae’s newly published performance was part of NPR’s Black Music Month celebration, which has already featured Tiny Desk Concerts from Charlie Wilson, Babyface, Tank, Adam Blackstone, and Ambré. Watch the action above, and see Amaarae’s setlist and full band lineup below. The motley group features the multi-faceted British four-piece The Compozers alongside seven other musicians.

Amaarae Tiny Desk setlist

“Reckless & Sweet”
“Wasted Eyes”
“Big Steppa”

Amaarae Tiny Desk backing band

The Compozers


Nana Pokes: bass
Charlie Biggz: 1st keyboard
David Melodee: 2nd keyboard
Stephen Asamoah-Duah: drums

Other musicians

KZDidIt: arrangement, percussion
Kyu Steed: arrangement, vocals, shaker
Tom Levesque: trumpet
Alex Goldblatt: guitar
Braxton Cook: saxophone
Amber Nicole: backing vocals
Dominique Abrams: backing vocals

Watch Amaarae’s supersized Tiny Desk Concert