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.
Since their debut album, “Strange Circles,” was released in 2017, Bokanté have appeared at prestigious venues and events including Monterey Jazz Festival, Waterfront Blues Festival, SFJAZZ, North Sea Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, and the Cambridge Folk Festival. In 2020, they received a GRAMMY nomination for “Best World Music Album.”
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, this 8-piece ensemble 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.
Tirolien’s lyrics paint unflinching portraits of joy, protest, triumph, heartbreak, crisis, hope, and finally, unity. Singing in both Creole and French, Tirolien’s words draw nuanced pictures of the struggles we face in our world today – racism, a dying planet, apathy towards human suffering – and offer words of thankfulness for those things which unify us, as well as hope for the future of our race. In the words of League, “Unity was paramount in the formation of this group. Though the ensemble is multilingual, multicultural, 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.”