Artist picture of Lionel Loueke

Lionel Loueke

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Lionel Loueke is an internationally acclaimed West African jazz singer and guitarist who played drums as a child growing up in Benin but turned to the guitar as a teenager. He studied at the National Higher Institute of Arts and Cultural Action in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and the American School of Modern Music in Paris, France before going to America in 1999 to study at Boston's Berklee College of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz programme at the University of Southern California.

He has recorded with many great jazz artists such as Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, Angelique Kidjo, Norah Jones, Chick Corea and Steve Gadd and plays in the trio Gilfema with bassist Massimo Biolcati and drummer Ferenc Nemeth. He has released albums such as 'Incantation' (2004), 'Arizona' (2005), 'In a Trance' (2005) and 'Virgin Forest' (2006). His 2008 release 'Karibou' went to number eight on Billboard's Traditional Jazz Albums chart and number 14 on the Jazz Albums chart, 'Mwaliko' (2010) reached number 12 on the Jazz Albums chart, number 14 on the Traditional Jazz Albums chart and number 15 on the World Albums chart, 'Heritage' (2012) peaked at number ten on the Traditional Jazz Albums chart, number nine on the World Albums chart and number 16 on the Jazz Albums chart, and 'Aziza' (2016) hit number five on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and number 12 on the Jazz Albums chart.

He featured with saxophonist Miguel Zenón on drummer Jeff Ballard's 'Time's Tale', which peaked at number 39 on the Jazz Albums chart in 2014, and the Blue Note All-Stars release 'Our Point of View', which reached number five on the Traditional Jazz Albums chart and number ten on the Jazz Albums chart in 2017. He tours internationally with his 2020 schedule set to include performances at venues in Rome, Italy, and Cape May, New Jersey in America.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved