press "World Be Free is a gift from the Universal Love Band to the Community. Complex rhythms permeate themes of transformation and empowerment.  The band connects a wide age range, and diverse cultural backgrounds in friendly, creative, original music collaborations."  

Riverwest Currents 2014

"Universal Love Band @ Club Timbuktu, 6 p.m.

If they played only instrumentals and didn’t sing in English, Milwaukee’s Universal Love Band could be mistaken for a group from somewhere on Africa’s western shore. Relentless Afro-pop rhythms take center stage on their latest album, World Be Free, while the band’s name spells out the message of their lyrics. ULB’s album release party is meant to reflect a sense of community with displays of flower art in the East Indian tradition by Sharada Gudigar and tile-making for the Center Street Peace Post."

Shepherd Express 2014


The far reaches of the Sahara have nurtured some fantastic music in recent years. Often suggesting a convergence of John Lee Hooker and West Africa, those sounds have been lovingly transplanted to Wisconsin by the Madison-Milwaukee band Mali Blues. Their live CD, recorded earlier this year at Club Garibaldi, captures the hypnotic pulse of this ancient-modern music in the syncopated snap of strings, simmering low burn electric guitars and primal, propulsive rhythms. Nothing except the English language “thank you for coming out” between songs reveals that this session wasn’t recorded somewhere near Timbuktu.

Shepherd Express Nov 2012


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3/21/12 "Mali Blues Collaborators say band is best heard live":     Review & Videos here


"The lighthearted yet ambitious sound of KT's Universal Love Band is a fusion of reggae and African music with a bit of a punk spirit, while their lyrical content is delivered in over a dozen languages, proving that good music cannot be restrained by vernacular. Led by the dreadlocked wonder woman KT Rusch, who navigates her bass guitar with careful love and affection, the eclectic band transcends genres and pigeon holes, instead choosing to produce music for the entire world." Shepherd Express 2011



U-Love at The Hole: SINKHOLE Site Hosts Concert WTMJ Newsradio August 2010



"Bay View continues its popular Chill on the Hill concert series tonight at the Humboldt Park Bandshell with an especially up-tempo headliner: KT Rusch and the Universal Love Band, a worldly, uplifting group that mixes reggae, funk and Nigerian pop flavors, singing of peace and harmony while drawing from a blend of Rastafarianism and Eastern mystic practices. Their sunny sound makes them a logical fit for outdoor concerts like this one." Shepherd Express 2009




"How do you define "universal love"? For Milwaukee veteran KT Rusch it means a number of things. First off, it's the name of the band in which she and her band mates mix various reggae and Nigerian pop flavors. Judging from the lyrics, universal love is also the blend of Rastafarianism and Eastern mystic practices propelling her calls for freedom from the shackles of personal and political oppression. Rusch's enthusiastic vocal attack provides a touch of authentic funk as the group looks to spread peace and harmony." Shepherd Express 2008



"Spreading Happiness and Joy with Every Beat" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   September 2008




"Roots rhythms—that I’ll guarantee will stick in your head long after you’ve listened to the CD..." Nerve House  Spring 2007     




"kt's Universal Love brings audiences dancing to their feet with their uplifting and inspiring roots rhythms. Their eclectic blend of African, reggae and percussive music coupled with positive messages creates an infectious blend of original world music with Heart and Soul."             Radio Milwaukee 88.9




"Whether its reggae rhythms, afro rhythms or punk rock -- all those influences come together on the album. It kind of morphs as we start to play it and you can see all the different influences and I think that's what makes it world music."  Interview with


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"Mali Blues w/ Universal Love Band @ Club Timbuktu - Two of Milwaukee's most uplifting bands, both of which feature bassist, songwriter and resident master of Malian music KT Rusch, share tonight's bill.  Mali Blues plays self-described "afro-desert blues - think Ali Farka Toure by way of Howlin' Wolf.  Universal Love Band, meanwhile, aims for a more eclectic reggae/world sound."        Shepherd Express  11/2/2006



We sponsored a Rally for Compassion:

"Unrest in Tibet Hits HomeShepherd Express  April 2008    




"Amity with Tibetan monk sets woman on path to India to India  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Story January 2008    




"When she's not shuttling her kids to the typical activites of suburban youth or volunteering to help troubled kids through Express Yourself Milwaukee, Mequon's KT Rusch can be found laying down taut bass lines for two Afrocentric bands.  Rusch is the backbone in both Scorcher Family Reggae, a ragtag collective of almost perfect diversity, and Mali Blues Group, a cast of African musicians that revolves around Rusch and kamelon ngoni (an African harp-like instrument) virtuoso Tani Diakite.  Rusch's polished chops and positive vibes and absolute command of the low end keeps her band on task.  The mission: to dispense "music as medicine," she says.  No spoonful of sugar needed - it gets down just fine."      Milwaukee Magazine  October 2006 -  Best of Milwaukee Milwaukee Magazine  October 2006 -  Best of Milwaukee  




"Mali Blues Group: Live from Madison and Milwaukee - Imagine that  one of the intersections of Western African and Western rock music happens right here in Wisconsin!  Mali Blues Group brings together folks like Tani Diakite who hails from Mali, a land-locked African nation bordering both Senegal and the Sahara desert, and folks from Wisconsin like KT Rusch.  Together they forge an interesting sound  that is tight and raucous like a good drum circle should be, yet explores the interplay between traditional gourd and skin instruments like the djembe and the kamelon ngoni and the electric bass.  The combination may be more natural than it seems on the surface, as most instrumentation we take for granted as 'rock' had its roots in the traditions of African music.  This live CD was recorded in both Madison and Milwaukee and for live sound it is well miked and the sound quality is amazing.  for a group with "blues" in the title, I found the tracks to be bouncy, uplifting, and even without being familiar with the language in the vocals, I felt like vocalizing along with them."       Nerve House  Fall 2006




"Art Changes Lives"   Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  2006  Express Yourself Milwaukee @ Milwaukee Juvenile Detention Center 




Universal Love Band  Interview with   by Molly Synder Edler   6/2/2006




"Mali Blues group featuring Tani Diakite and KT Rusch   Club Timbuktu - Sure Malian Blues Group's rootsy, danceable groove earns the Milwaukee band most of its accolades.  but the also about producing good vibes..."       Shepherd Express  November, 2005




University of Wisconsin Post   Interview with KT Rusch  12/2005




Wanna smile! Need a little positive reality! Check out KT, Holly, Dena and friends' podcast of "One River" from Club Timbuktu's Return to Africa Fundraiser   November 2005









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