Ven. 02/12 IT #Roma | CrossRoads Live Club
Dom. 04/12 IT #Bergamo | Druso
Lun. 05/12 HU #Budapest | RaM Theater
Mar. 06/12 IT #Bologna | Bravo Caffè
Mer. 07/12 IT #Forlì | Forum Live Jazz c/ Teatro Dragoni Meldola
Gio. 08/12 IT #Napoli | Teatro Auditorium Salvo D”acquisto
Ven. 09/12 IT #Cosenza | Teatro Auditorium Unical
Dom. 11/12 IT #Bari | Teatro Comunale Luciani di Acquaviva delle Fonti
Mar. 13/12 NL #Zoetermeer | Poppodium Boerderij
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.
Keith Anderson | Sax
Jay McK | Bass
Brannen Temple | Drums
James Robinson | Vocals
DJ Ernie G
A Grammy-winning jazz and gospel organist, Bobby Sparks II is best known as a member of the band Snarky Puppy, and as a longtime collaborator with gospel leader Kirk Franklin. Following his debut with Franklin in the early ’90s, he was a member of Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor, and played alongside a mix of jazz, gospel, and pop luminaries including Fred Hammond, Marcus Miller, George Benson, Nelly Furtado, and many more. In 2019, he released his long-awaited solo album, Schizophrenia: The Yang Project.
Born in 1973 in Corsicana, Texas, Sparks grew up with parents who were teachers and musicians. His mother, a church organist, started him on the piano at age three, and encouraged his love of hymns and gospel music. Similarly, his father played trumpet and introduced him to jazz, including organists like Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, and Lonnie Smith. Sparks developed quickly, and throughout his childhood played often for church choirs, musical workshops, and vocal ensembles. At age 16, he was gifted a Hammond B-3 which he soon mastered. After high school, he further honed his skills studying music at Eastfield College in Mesquite near Dallas. It was during this period that he met and joined Kirk Franklin’s gospel group. From 1992 to 2005, he worked as Franklin’s musical director, touring and contributing to albums like 1993’s Kirk Franklin & the Holy Family, 1998’s Nu Nation Project, and 2002’s The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin. With Franklin he earned a bevy of accolades, including numerous Grammy Awards.
An in-demand session player, Sparks has worked with gospel luminaries like Fred Hammond, CeCe Winans, and Donnie McClurkin, as well as artists from the jazz and R&B world including Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Lalah Hathaway, and Kirk Whalum, among others. He was a key member of trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s funk-jazz outfit RH Factor, appearing on 2003’s Hard Groove, 2004’s Strength, and 2006’s Distractions. Over the years, Sparks also branched out into radio and television, supplying the music for shows like Top Model and movies like The Prince of Egypt. Away from performing, he has also served as organist for Pathway of Life Church.
Since 2016, he has been a regular member of the acclaimed jam band Snarky Puppy, appearing on 2016’s Grammy-winning Culcha Vulcha, and 2019’s Immigrance. Also in 2019, Sparks released his first album as a leader, Schizophrenia: The Yang Project, which featured contributions by Hargrove, Marcus Miller, Snarky Puppy’s Michael League, and others.