From the “Tonight Show With Jay Leno”, the former members of his resident band
KNICK SMITH TRIO | (USA)
AVAILABILITY FOR EUROPE 2023
THE KNICK SMITH TRIO
Nick Smith | Keyboards
Edwin Livingston | Bass
Marvin “Smitty” Smith | Drums
Nick has toured with various artists, including Stanley Clarke, Stevie Wonder, Queen Latifah, Kenny Garrett, Kirk Whalum, George Duke, Roy Ayers, Brandy, Kenny Lattimore, Donald Byrd, Michel Polnareff, and Dianne Reeves. For almost ten years, Nick toured with Stanley Clarke and worked on the Showtime series Soul Food and several movie projects. Some of the movies include Higher Learning, Eddie, Sprung, Funny Valentine, and The Color of Friendship. Nick also worked with bassist Robert Hurst on the music for the motion picture, Brown Sugar. In 1995, Nick appeared nightly on the Tonight Show featuring Jay Leno. After leaving the Tonight Show, Nick built a home studio and began recording. He has composed enough music to complete several CD’s and is currently working on three CD projects.
Edwin has performed and/or recorded with:
Elvin Jones, Ellis, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis, Donald Harrison, Jr., Lionel Loueke, Otmaro Ruiz, Mike Garson, Russell Ferrante, Leni Stern, Dave Weckl, Will Kennedy, Peter Erskine, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Joe LaBarbera, Henry Butler, Queen Latifah, The Benjamin Wright Orchestra(Raphael Saadiq, Justin Timberlake, Will.I.Am, Brian McKnight, Mary J Blige, Aretha Franklin), Vince Mendoza, Bob Mintzer (Grammy nominated large ensemble album), Yellowjackets, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jovanotti, Keiko Matsui, Melody Gardot, Natalie Cole, Ben Vereen, Frankie Valli, Thelma Houston and many others.
In addition to a full playing, touring, and recording career he is on the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music, teaching bass & small ensembles in the jazz studies department. He is also on faculty at The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) teaching core curriculum, ensembles and bass.
Edwin has appeared in several feature films, including Ray, Dreamgirls, Dolemite Is My Name, and Low Down, he has also performed on NBC LIVE Jesus Christ Superstar with John Legend, Sara Bareilles, & Brandon Victor Dixon. He’s performed with Seal on The Late Late Show with James Corden, with Melody Gardot on Later…with Jools Holland, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, LIVE with Regis and Kelly and the A & E show Private Sessions with Queen Latifah.
MARVIN “SMITTY” SMITH
Marvin “Smitty” Smith is a musician extraordinaire whose work has been described as a “comment on invention, firm and adventurous time and technical sufficiency.” He has traveled extensively throughout the Orient, Europe, and the continental USA; and he has shared the stage with such greats as Sonny Rollins, Hank Jones, Frank Foster and Frank Wess, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Slide Hampton, and Milt Jackson. He is a former member of the Ron Carter Quartet, The New York Jazz Quartet, and The Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet.
Featured on more than 45 albums, additional performances and recordings augmented with Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison, Ray Brown and Phineas Newborn, George Shearing, Bobby Watson, Hamiet Bluiett, Branford Marsalis, David Murray, Emily Remler, Peter Leicht, Kevin Eubanks, Donald Byrd, Monty Alexander, Diane Reeves, Michel Camilo, and Grover Washington Jr. Currently he’s a member of Steve Coleman’s Five Elements, and The Dave Holland Quartet. Smitty conducts seminars and clinics for students in jazz workshops, both in the United States and Europe; and is currently on staff of jazz program at the Banff Centre of Fine Arts, Canada, and Drummers Collective, New York City.
AVAILABILITY FOR EUROPE 2023
MARCH 27th / APRIL 30th
Jeff Berlin | Bass
Emilio García | Guitar
Jorge Vera | Keyboards, vocal
Asaf Sirkis | Drums
Jeff Berlin is a flexible and powerful electric bassist. He was one of the major fusion bassists to emerge during the mid-’70s. His father sang opera and his mother played piano. Berlin had nine years of violin lessons starting from when he was five and was considered a child prodigy, appearing with orchestras in New York City. However, when he was 14 he switched directions and began playing electric bass; Jack Bruce was an early hero. Berlin attended the Berklee College of Music for a time and then moved back to New York. For a short period he was in a trio with Allan Holdsworth and Tony Williams. In 1975 he recorded in Europe with Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz and then in New York he became quite busy with studio work, club dates, and record sessions. Berlin played with many top musicians including Pat Martino, Gil Evans, Toots Thielemans, Al DiMeola, George Benson, Earl Klugh, Larry Coryell, Bob James, Dave Liebman, Herbie Mann, Ray Barretto, the Brecker Brothers and others. Berlin was also a regular member of Bill Bruford’s band (which included guitarist Holdsworth and keyboardist Dave Stewart) for a couple years starting in 1977; four recordings resulted.
Berlin subsequently moved to Los Angeles, worked in clubs with Scott Henderson and Frank Gambale, became an educator (helping to found the Bass Institute of Technology), played rock (including with Frank Zappa), and turned down an opportunity to join Van Halen. During 1985-1986 Berlin recorded two fusion/rock dates for the soon-defunct Passport label. He moved to Florida in 1990 and toured with Yes, John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Kazumi Watanabe, and other musicians from a wide variety of creative genres. In addition, he began teaching at the Players School. His third set as a leader, 1997’s Taking Notes for Denon, was Berlin’s most jazz-oriented set to date. He continued releasing a number of albums into the 21st century, including Lumpy Jazz (2004) with his core trio featuring pianist Richard Drexler and drummer Danny Gottlieb; the highly regarded In Harmony’s Way (2004) with guest appearances by saxophonist David Liebman, vibraphonist Gary Burton, and guitarist Mike Stern; Ace of Bass/Aneurythms (2006); and the piano trio-oriented High Standards (2010), again featuring Drexler and Gottlieb in addition to the session leader.
Juna Serita | Bass, vocal, leader
Harumo Imai | Sax
Julia Lange | Guitar
Annie Jules | Keyboards, vocal
Sina | Drums
Juna Serita was born and raised in Ishikawa, Japan. Started playing the bass guitar at 17 years old and got some prizes on band contests with her own band as bass&vocalist at 18 years old. Joined Showa University of music with scholarship and studied under a bassist Tetsuo Sakurai (ex CASIOPEA). Performed at a music festival in Daegu, Korea at 19 years old and started her professional career in Tokyo.
➢ Recognized as the No.1 female bassist by the online rock magazine BEEAST in 2016 …
➢ Bootsy Collins introduced her music video »The Princess of Funk« as Bootsy baby …
➢ Juna is also showed up in a SONY television commercial with her 20 seconds slap bass solo …She released 3 albums as her solo work. Each ranked in on iTunes Store chart No. 1 in Denmark, No. 2 in Japan, No. 2 in France, No. 5 in Turkey.
➢ French web magazine TOP wrote about Juna an the article »BLACK JAPAN BASS« through whole 4pages …
Recognized as the No.1 female bassist by the online rock magazine BEEAST in 2016. Performed at NAMM show 2017/2018 with legendary blues guitarists such as Matt Schofield, Kirk Fletcher, Davide Pannozzo and so on. Juna is also showed up in a SONY television commercial with her 20 seconds slap bass solo.
She released 3 albums as her solo work. Each ranked in on iTunes Store chart No.1 in Denmark, No.2 in Japan, No.2 in France, No.5 in Turkey. Bootsy Collins introduced her music video »The Princess of Funk« as Bootsy baby.
French web magazine TOP wrote about Juna an the article »BLACK JAPAN BASS« through whole 4pages.
Juna Serita was also the original member of the all female band TOKYO GROOVE JYOSHI. Their music video »What is Hip?« went total over 2,310,000 view in a year and had tour to NY.
Jeff Lorber | Keyboards
Jimmy Haslip | Bass
Sonny Emory | Drums
Jeff Lorber (Jeffrey H. Lorber born November 4, 1952) is an American keyboardist, composer, and record producer. After six previous nominations, Lorber won his first Grammy Award on January 28, 2018 for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Prototype by his band the Jeff Lorber Fusion.
Many of his songs have appeared on the Weather Channel’s Local on the 8s segments and on the channel’s compilation albums, The Weather Channel Presents: The Best of Smooth Jazz and The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his album He Had a Hat (Blue Note, 2007).
Jeff Lorber Fusion
His first group, the Jeff Lorber Fusion, released their self-titled debut album The Jeff Lorber Fusion in 1977 on Inner City Records. Supported by a revolving cast of musicians, including drummer Dennis Bradford, he recorded five studio albums under this moniker. These early albums showcased a funky sound influenced by other jazz fusion practitioners such as Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, and Return to Forever, the latter’s Chick Corea appearing on several songs. Like his contemporaries, Lorber performed on multiple keyboard instruments, including piano, Rhodes piano, and analog synthesizers, often favoring the Minimoog and Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. The Jeff Lorber Fusion’s 1980 album, Wizard Island, introduced saxophonist Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, better known as Kenny G.
In 1984 he released his second solo album In the Heat of the Night and Jeff Lorber Fusion compilation album Lift Off. Later that year, he and the production duo of David Frank and Mic Murphy, otherwise known as the System, produced Step by Step. The title track, written with Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters, rose to number 31 in the U.S. Billboard R&B chart. The song “Facts of Love” (featuring Karyn White) from the 1986 album Private Passion was his biggest chart hit, reaching No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 17 on the R&B chart. Several singles from this period also appeared on the Billboard Dance charts. However, Lorber was not satisfied that he was being overtaken by a more vocal and R&B feel on his own albums, so he took a seven-year hiatus. After Step by Step, he quoted Clive Davis as telling him, “We really want you to put more vocals on your records”, which Lorber thought was a mistake.
Lorber’s keyboard work appeared in the video game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. His input can be heard during the game’s closing theme song “I Am the Wind” (which also featured the saxophonist Gerald Albright).
Two greatest hits compilation albums were released in 2000 and 2002. Flipside (2005) was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category. At the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, his 2013 album Hacienda was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Album. In 2018, he received a Grammy for his album Prototype in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category.
Lorber has done extensive production and session work for other musicians, including Dave Koz, Eric Benét, Herb Alpert, Carol Duboc and Laura Branigan. He hosts a show on Sirius Satellite Radio.
James Robert Haslip (born December 31, 1951) is an American bass guitarist who was a founding member of the jazz fusion group the Yellowjackets, which he left in 2012. He was also an early user of the five-string electric bass.
Early life and career
Born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican immigrants, Spanish was Haslip’s first language and he learned to speak English in kindergarten. His father, James Joseph (Jaime) Haslip (1915–1999) served in the United States Customs Service, beginning as a Merchant Marine until moving to patrolman and eventually deputy commissioner, marrying Jimmy’s mother Virginia (Viera) Haslip (1912-2009) in 1937.
Haslip moved to Huntington, New York when he was four years old. At age seven, he began playing drums and then moved onto other instruments such as trumpet and tuba until playing bass at age 15. Although he took music lessons and went to a private music school, he considers himself self-taught. He has said that he went to a local music shop with his father and purchased a right-handed bass (he is left-handed) and learned to play it upside down (without restringing).
In an interview with magazine JazzTimes, Haslip said he was surrounded by music as a young boy, from visiting nightclubs and concert venues to his peers. He explains that there was music in his house as well, from his older brother Gabriel listening to classic jazz, his father listening to Latin and orchestra jazz and his aunt listening to “sappy stuff like Jerry Vale and Johnny Mathis”. In high school, Haslip created his first band called Soul Mine with his high school classmates, playing soul music at school dances and parties.
In the early 1970s Haslip played with New York glam band Street Punk, he toured alongside musicians, and moved to Los Angeles in 1976, where he played with guitarists Tommy Bolin and Harvey Mandel. in addition to the Yellowjackets, he has worked with Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Bruce Hornsby, Rita Coolidge, Gino Vannelli, Kiss, Tommy Bolin, Allan Holdsworth, Marilyn Scott, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Donald Fagen, and Anita Baker.
Haslip has released two solo albums: Arc, and Red Heat, with Joe Vannelli, in 2000. He was active with the Yellowjackets between 1977 and 2012. He was part of a combo with Allan Holdsworth, Alan Pasqua, and Chad Wackerman. Other collaborations include Jing Chi (with Robben Ford and Vinnie Colaiuta) and Modereko. Haslip was a member of the rock group Blackjack from 1979–1980 with Bruce Kulick, Sandy Gennaro, and Michael Bolton. He also toured with guitarist Allan Holdsworth and drummer Virgil Donati.
In 2012, Haslip took a year-long hiatus from Yellowjackets, which later turned permanent. Haslip wanted to devote more time to his family and other musical projects. He was replaced in Yellowjackets by Felix Pastorius, the son of Jaco Pastorius. Regarding this topic, he stated: “The primary reason for my hiatus is so that I can spend more quality time with my family”, says Haslip. “I spent ten months on the road last year. The break will give me an opportunity to spend more time at home as well as work on other artistic endeavors, such as independently producing projects”. Haslip adds, “This was not a rash decision and there is no animosity by any means. Everybody is still friends and I’m excited for the band and their upcoming plans with Felix”.
Sonny Emory is a native of Atlanta who received his first drum set at the age of four. After graduating from Georgia State University with a Bachelor in Jazz Performance, Sonny began his transition into becoming a professional drummer playing with Joe Sample and the Crusaders. With over 30 years of live performance and studio work behind him, Sonny maintains a busy schedule in the music industry and is highly regarded in the business.
Though probably best known for his groundbreaking drumming with Earth, Wind, and Fire; Sonny has performed with a virtual “who’s who” in pop and jazz music including Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, Bette Midler, Al Jarreau, Paula Abdul, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Boz Scaggs. He is also known for innovative visual effects during live performances that include exciting stick-twirling and back-sticking techniques. As a World Renowned Drummer and Grammy Award Winner, Sonny is considered to be one of the greatest drummers to have come along in a while. His proficiency and style have awarded him the opportunity to record on platinum status albums such as the B52s’ Cosmic Thing and Steely Dan’s Grammy award winning Two against Nature.
While Sonny is in high demand as a touring musician for what he delivers during live performances, he is equally in demand for studio work. He is a former member of the legendary group Earth, Wind, and Fire, having held down the drum seat for thirteen years. Sonny has additionally played with artist that include Bruce Hornsby, Jennifer Lopez, Lee Ritenour, Bette Midler, Steely Dan and he is currently touring with Eric Clapton.
In early 2015, Sonny completed a tour with Spyro Gyra and ended the year by performing in the Dreams Come True Japanese Wonderland Tour. Currently, he is gigging with Lee Ritenour, Jeff Lorber and Bruce Hornsby and Eric Clapton. Sonny’s latest CD entitled “Love is the Greatest” was released worldwide though Universal Japan on October 10, 2017.
With a wealth of teaching experience, Sonny is committed to balancing academics and entertainment. He served as an Adjunct Professor of Applied Percussion at Georgia State University. Additionally, Sonny teaches private lessons to assist students in developing their craft and setting long-term goals in order to be successful in their chosen musical endeavors.
Sonny has performed countless clinics and master classes in academic settings, drum stores, and during national music conferences, both independently and for his endorsers YAMAHA Drums and ZILDJIAN Cymbals.
Sonny co-wrote the tune “Crusin”, which can be heard on the score to Spike Lee’s 1998 film “Get on the Bus”. Also, he worked on the “Lethal Weapon II” soundtrack with Eric Clapton and David Sanborn. He most recently performed on the score to Spike Lee’s 2015 film “Chiraq”. Sonny released several projects, including “Hypnofunk” produced by the late, Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind and Fire. Sonny has also released a jazz project entitled “E.S.P.”, and a funk project entitled “Love’s Pure Light” and “Rock Hard Cachet” featuring Eric Clapton and Bruce Hornsby.
His latest release on Aftertouch Music is titled “ FULL TILT featuring SONNY EMORY”
Sonny is endorsed by YAMAHA Drums, ZILDJIAN Cymbals,Vic Firth Drumsticks, Remo drum heads, Shure Microphones, Meyers Sound Systems, Toca Percussion, and LP Percussion.
Musician. Composer. Guitarist. One of the best MPB and Jazz guitarists plays classical and electric guitar. Born in the neighborhood of Bangu, west of Rio de Janeiro, he was raised in Italy by his father, the “immense” guitarist IRIO de PAULA, a musician residing in the country since the 70s. Robertinho De Paula has played in several European countries (Germany – France – Greece – Spain – Netherlands) and Argentina He has played in several festivals “Festival de Jazz de Castelbuono”, “Ariano Irpino Jazz”, “Seravezza Jazz”, “Teggiano Jazz”, “Padova Jazz Festival Centro Porsche” “Jazz Pantelleria Festival” “GuitarMaster” (Germany), Ecojazz Festival “(Italy), “Peperoncino Jazz Festival” (Italy) “Jazz in Sud de France” (France) “Roma Jazz Festival” (Italy) “San Marino Jazz” (Republic de San Marino) “San Martin Jazz Festival” (Italy) “Beat Onto Jazz Festival” Italy “Etno Jazz Festival” Italy the others… In 2004 he released his first solo CD entitled “Bate Papo”, along with his father Irio De Paula being voted one of the best albums of 2004 in Italy, touring several cities in Italy: Verona, Torino, Ná poles, Palermo, Acona Cevignano di Friuli, Borgo Valsugana, San Donà di Piave, Vilminore di Scalve, Bolzano and Venice. He released solo albums in Europe, especially “Cores” (RDP Quartet – Italy) “Vera Cruz – Vertere and RDP String Quartet” (Italy); “The Seed of Love, jazz guitar, Brazilian style – RDP” (Italy) “Chameleon Jazz – RDP Jazz Quartet” (Italy) “ITBRIT – RDP” (Italy) “Live In Berlin – RDP ” (Italy); “Bebo Best and Our Soul Sings – Special Guest RDP “Atras Da Porta” Nadia Cancila – RDP (Italy) “Roda De Bossa” Nossa Alma Sings with RDP (Italy) “Natural” RDP (Brazil) ) “Bate Papo” Irio De Paula and Robertinho De Paula (Italy).
Robertinho De Paula has played with musicians such as: Larry Coryell – Martin Taylor – Paul Wertico (Pat Metheny Group)- Dave King – Ivan Lins – Fabrizio Bosso – Massimo Manzi – Vito Di Modugno – Seu jorge – Soweto Kinsh Robertinho Silva
Carvin Jones – “Victory Is Mine” live performance on RTV Spain Radio3
The CARVIN JONES Band CARVINATOR BLUES Guitar Power Trio Club Soda Montreal Canada 2018
Carvin Jones – Ultimate Guitar Experience of the Year – On Tour Now!
Carvin Jones Does His Jimi Thang @ The Beaverwood Club 20/11/2018
World renowned blues/rock icon Carvin Jones, voted one of the greatest blues guitarist of all time by Guitarist magazine.
“Carvin Jones is a young cat out of Phoenix who I think is the next up-and-coming blues player.” Eric Clapton
“One of the best guitarists in the world ” London Surrey News
Carvin has released 4 LP’s – What You Need (1999), The Carvinator (2008) and Victory is Mine (2014) and his new album release What a Good Day (2018). He has played countless festivals, made numerous television appearances and has received praise and recognition from some of the top artists in the blues world. He has pleased music fans worldwide with his high energy show and electrifying guitar style. He has shared the stage and toured with legends including BB King, Santana, Jeff Beck, Albert King, Albert Collins, The Animals, REO Speedwagon, Jimmy Vaughan, Double Trouble and many more. Carvin himself has performed with Joe Cocker and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Carvin even performed in Iraq and Kuwait in 2011.
Prior to the current incarnation of the band, Carvin has a long 25 year history of success worldwide.
The band currently averages around 330 live performances a year and have performed in 37 countries on 3 continents in 24 months. The band has been well received by critics and fans alike.
From 2013-2016 the band appeared at several major blues and music festivals including Cerdanyola Blues Festival (Barcelona, Spain), Grollo Intl Blues Fest (Grollo, Netherlands), Otwock Blues festival (Warsaw, Poland), International Jazz Festival (Kraljevo, Serbia), Con Alma de Blues Festival (Buenos Aires Argentina), Sisak Blues Festival (Sisak, Croatia) and In Wires Festival (Uzice, Serbia). In September 2016 they appeared on the late night show Radio 3 on RTVE National Television in Spain which drew 20 million viewers. On June 23, they performed their biggest show to date in Valladolid, Spain. 60,000 were in attendance for Carvin’s 50th Birthday show.
2017 was another very busy year for Carvin and the band. They toured United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy.
2018 proved to be an epic year as the band had sold out tours in Canada, Spain, England, Scotland, Germany and Belgium in addition to completing their first ever American Hard Rock Cafe tour summer 2018! They performed at exclusive Hard Rock Cafe locations in prominent American cities such as Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Denver, Seattle, Indianapolis, Tampa, Phoenix and Anchorage.
Carvin’s new LP , “What a Good Day” was released early in January 2018 with a limited release of 11 tracks that will be performed on select tour dates in Phoenix, AZ, Chicago, IL, Belgrade, Serbia, Paris, France, Moscow, Russia, Iceland, Helsinki, Finland, Montreal, Canada, Reykjavik, Iceland and Rome, Italy.
Select tracks will also be featured on the upcoming television drama series ‘Scrutiny’, which features Carvin’s debut acting roll!
2019 is also proving to be another spectacular year for Carvin as he is scheduled to make numerous highly anticipated performances in the following countries and cities: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ireland in addition to several cities in the UK (Germany, England, Belgium). American cities include Canton, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Seattle, Prescott, Sedona, Philadelphia, New York and Taos just to name a few!
All stay tuned…. 2019 already proving to be ROCKIN!
Franck Biyong is available with two different amazing projects:
Franck Biyong & Lipombe Jazz (Afrobeat-AfroJazz) and Afrobrainz (Electronic-Funk-Rock)
AFRICA’S 21ST CENTURY ROCK GUITAR HERO
Growing up in Gabon, Nigeria and Ivory Coast before settling in the UK at age 14, Franck Biyong lived in households filled with good music. Little wonder why the towering Cameroonian artist is a composer, guitar player, singer, band leader and producer. This master of musical interpretation recalls American Jazz guitarist, Wes Montgomery’s “Canadian Sunset” as the song that set him down his musical path as a pre-teen.
Fanck Biyong went on to cultivate a personal and passionate relationship with music, recognizing it as “spiritual food for the soul”. Receiving musical instruction and training at the National Institute of Arts in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), he scorched a brilliant path with his electric guitar and became a reporter of human emotions and feelings. Franck translated these experiences into several Afro Beat and Afro Jazz albums that made people move, laugh, dance, cry and meditate.
Fanck Biyong has played at countless spots around the globe including SOB’s in New York and the Montreal Jazz Festival. Franck has also enjoyed European tours with music legends such as Nigerian Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and Ghanaian Highlife guitarist Ebo Taylor. Franck has also worked with Wyclef Jean as well as Salif Keita, King Sunny Ade, Culture Musical Club, Burna Boy, Yemi Alade, Olamide, Waje, Phyno, Efya, Diamond Platnumz and Vanessa Mdee during his time as Music Director on Coke Studio Africa Season 1 & 2.
But Franck Biyong, a consummate performer and creator, has reinvented himself.
In 2016, he shared his vision for Alternative Afro-Electro-Rock and Crossover Music with the recording of the LIYOMBA CHURCH single. This exciting single mined the link between rock and electro with dazzlingly good results. Clever use of Swahili lyrics made it immediately familiar with fans in East Africa and the rest of the continent for whom this Bantu language resonates with many of their own.
This is in line with the Pan-African ideals underpinning Franck’s new sound. And, one of two logical evolutions of African Music; the other being creating musical forms that would appeal to diverse audiences regardless of their age and knowledge about new types of African music: “We have to adapt to change, not to dissolve totally our identity and unique approach to music, but to bridge the gap between where we were and where we should go”.
And, Franck is leading the pack…
Having been a musician for decades and with diverse influences and references (from Francis Bebey to Frank Zappa), Fanck Biyong serves as a
“filter” through which two different streams are passing. The first stream is represented by music of the past generation that he hopes to pass on to the next; stretched out, revamped and modernized. While the second is the modern urban sounds that he plans to incorporate, develop and confront working with musical forms that do not belong together in the first place.
Another aspect of Franck’s futuristic idea of African Music is defined by artistic independence and total freedom of expression. This is a marked departure from the current strong push towards commercialization of image in place of music.
Perhaps his new rock oriented project will herald crossover exposure and breakthrough on the international scene…and it may also finally alter the perception of African Music and its musicians at large.