Named with the word meaning “exchange” in the Antillean Creole language spoken on vocalist Malika Tirolien’s Caribbean home island of Guadeloupe, Bokanté is one of the latest omnivorous conglomerations assembled by bassist and Snarky Puppy mastermind Michael League.
Combining the Snarky Puppy guitar line and lap steel virtuoso Roosevelt Collier with a trio of percussionists including longtime Paul Simon hand drummer Jamey Haddad and Banda Magda/Snarky Puppy multi-instrumentalist Keita Ogawa, Bokanté brings a hugely dynamic multicultural musical approach that marries the electric blues of Led Zeppelin with Afropop and folkloric Caribbean styles, unified by the soaring vocals of Tirolien. Sung in Creole and French, Tirolien’s lyrics paint unflinching portraits of joy, protest, racism, triumph, heartbreak, crisis, hope, and finally, unity. In the words of League, “Unity was paramount in the formation of this group. 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.” Bokanté’s debut album, Strange Circles, was released last year.