Virtuoso guitarist/vocalist Pascal Bokar from West Africa Senegal/Mali, leads an amazing ensemble of musicians dedicated to the integration of African and African American musical traditions through the blues, melding the sounds of the banjo and the balafon, (ancestor of the xylophone), in an explosive contemporary visual and sonic expression.
Pascal Bokar is the recipient of the Jim Hall Jazz Master Award for Guitarist of the Berklee College of Music and the recipient of the Outstanding Soloist Award from Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody. His previous album, Guitar Balafonics, won Downbeat Best of 2015.
“Pascal Bokar is an incredible blues/jazz guitarist who hails originally from the Mali/Senegal region of West Africa. A dazzling, fiery combination of traditional, Delta, and West African roots music, award-winning guitarist Pascal Bokar offers a captivating and unique foray into contemporary blues with American Trails. Until next time…” Sheryl and Don Crow/Bluesblog
“The Band is Fireworks… a musical style like we have not heard before.“ – Fred Delforge/ZicaZic.com
“Pascal Bokar possesses an uncanny ability to use pizzicato and quasi-pizzicato in lead runs rarely encountered on guitar except in Al DiMeola and scant others.” – Mark Tucker/Acousticmusic.com
Click on the image to hear the track “Let it Groove” from is latest release, American Trails.
2019 Silicon Valley Jazz Festival, CA
Vail Music Series, CO
Kansas City Jazz & Blues Festival, MO
Carter Barron Amphitheater, Washington DC
San Jose Jazz Festival, CA
Houston Jazz Festival, TX
Santa Fe Music Series, NM
African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA
La Defense, Paris, France
Born in Paris, France and raised in Mail and Senegal, West Africa, Pascal Bokar had a chance growing up to hear the musical, harmonic, melodic and rhythmic dance and spoken words traditions of West African music and culture that informed his heritage through the musical legacies of instruments such as the Ngoni (Banjo) and the Balafon (ancestor of the xylophone) which will later define the early cultural and musical foundations of the American South and the Blues through the migrations of West Africans through the Atlantic Slave Trade (1550-1888).
Throughout his productive musical career, guitarist/vocalist Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam has always understood the connections between West African music and the sounds and culture of the American South. His landmark book “From Timbuktu to the Mississippi delta” with a foreword by NEA Jazz Master, Composer, Pianist Randy Weston, discusses the music of the three empires that dominated the culture of West Africa starting in the 6th century, tracing the music from its role in the culture and daily life of Africa to its eventual emergence in the United States. In his teachings, lectures and music, Pascal has always paid tribute to his ancestors.
“As a musician, I have always tried to synthesize the convergence of African aesthetics and appreciate their influence in the music of the African American communities of the American South, from the rural sounds of the Blues and Gospel.”
Dr. Pascal Bokar has lectured at universities worldwide on the influence of African music and culture through the Blues and was recently invited to the Google Talks at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam is also a professor in the Performing Arts and social Justice Department of the University of San Francisco.
Or Denise McNair