Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

May/June 2017: Buster Williams (Festival Edition)


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Fans of Snarky Puppy will be excited to know that founder Michael League has kicked off a new project. Bokanté—which means “exchange” in Creole—is a gathering of eight dynamic musicians from several continents, all working at the top of their game. Two-time Grammy award-winning guitarists Michael League, Chris McQueen, and Bob Lanzetti, all from Snarky Puppy, are joined by lap steel virtuoso Roosevelt Collier, and percussionists Jamey Haddad, André Ferrari (Sweden), and Keita Ogawa (Japan). Fronting the band is Malika Tirolien, a Caribbean vocalist who grew up in Guadeloupe and now makes Montreal her home.

When the band gathered to record their debut album, Strange Circles, many of them had never met in person. They locked in quickly, and by the end of the week, felt connected and cohesive. “Unity was paramount in the formation of this group,” observed League. “Though the ensemble is multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and multi-generational, we all feel connected as musicians and people. And in combining our different accents I feel that there is a strangely common and poignant sound, one that can reach and relate to listeners around the world.”

The music is far-ranging, mesmerizing, and absolutely relevant, exploring pressing issues like racism, environmental destruction, and apathy in the face of suffering, but also pointing out the potential for connection and unity, expressed musically but also overtly in the nature of the band itself.

Looking to resist the rising pressure of aggression, division, and fear? Bokanté is a breath of hope, a soundtrack for positive change.

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