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Bokanté Biography

Snarky Puppy’s Michael League fuses his bass-driven, groove-driven world with international influences featuring band members who have played with everyone from Paul Simon through Yo-Yo Ma to The Lee Boys.

Bokanté is a band conceived by Snarky Puppy founder and GroundUP Music creator Michael League, the process of formation was all but conventional. The music and some of the melodies were written by League, demoed while on tour with other bands, and then sent to vocalist Malika Tirolien with lyrical concepts attached. Tirolien then wrote lyrics and melodies, demoing and ping-ponging the new content back to League. Many of the musicians had never even met until the first day of recording. By the end of the week-long session in upstate New York’s legendary Dreamland Studios, the band felt abnormally cohesive. ‘Unity was paramount in the formation of this group,’ observed League.

Two-time Grammy award-winning guitarists Michael League, Chris McQueen, and Bob Lanzetti (all from Snarky Puppy), percussion legend Jamey Haddad (Paul Simon, Sting), pedal and lap steel virtuoso Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys, Karl Denson), and unplaceable percussionists André Ferrari (Väsen) and Keita Ogawa (Banda Magda, Yo-Yo Ma) come together as Bokanté to create a diverse ensemble rich in groove, melody, and soul.

The word bokanté means ‘exchange’ in Creole, the language of Tirolien’s youth growing up on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Now living in Montreal, she stands among eight musicians from four continents, each one accomplished in their own right and well versed in music far beyond that of their point of origin.

The band’s debut album, Strange Circles, released in June, goes from Zeppelin-esque blues stomp to folkloric Caribbean kaladja over the course its ten tracks, blending the extensive and varied knowledge of the individual players with a strong, yet empathetic, lyrical approach.

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