Bokanté (Creole. Verb.): Exchange.
In a world wracked by exclusion, human indifference, and violence, can music bring nations together?
That is the mission of international music ensemble Bokanté, a collective of eight musicians from four continents. Celebrating its album Strange Circles at National Sawdust on the GroundUP Music label, Bokanté blends musical worlds to convey an urgent message of social awareness against the rising tide of exclusion and human indifference. The album goes from Zeppelin-esque blues stomp to folkloric Caribbean kaladja over the course of its ten tracks, blending the extensive and varied knowledge of the individual players with a strong, yet empathetic, lyrical approach.
The word bokanté means “exchange” in Creole, the language of vocalist Malika Tirolien’s youth growing up on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Now living in Montreal, she stands among 8 musicians from 4 continents, each one accomplished in their own right and well versed in music far beyond that of their point of origin. 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 (Lee Boys, Karl Denson), and unplaceable percussionists André Ferrari (Väsen) and Keita Ogawa (Banda Magda, Yo-Yo Ma) come together to create a diverse ensemble rich in groove, melody, and soul.