Formed in London in 2009, Awalé is a reflection of London's multiculturalism. With members from Tunisia, Cuba, France, Slovakia and England, influences come in turn from Afrobeat, Balkan music, North African Amazigh music, Congolese Rhumba, Ethio Funk, Jazz and Cuban music, blended in their unique style. Through their music they take the audience on a journey across continents celebrating diversity and hope for mutual understanding of different cultures. The name Awalé, meaning "love each other", comes from an ancient African game played in hundreds of versions around the world. Like the game, the music is played in turns and cycles of various length which echo themselves, sometimes very intricately and sometimes in unison. Heavily horn based, with the colour and excitement of 70's funk and with Balkan inspired odd time signatures and melodies. Since 2009 Awalé have performed extensively in London and around the UK, in festivals such as Lounge in the Farm, Solfest, Secret Garden Party, Kendall Calling and The Big Chill.
Thibaut Remy: From Montpellier, south of France, Thibaut Remy is a self-taught guitarist influenced by blues, rock, jazz, Malian, Egyptian, Gipsy music and funk. Since arriving in London in 2003 he has played with a wide range of musicians including Afla Sackey and Afrik Bawantu from Ghana, Mobo award nominee Eric Wainaina (Kenya) and recently featured on Gilles Peterson's record Havana Cultura. He is the band leader in Awalé.
Badiaa Bouhrizi: Coming from the Tunisian underground scene, Badiâa Bouhrizi blends jazz, reggae and electronic music with traditional Amazigh (native north african culture) influences in her vocals. She has performed in Tunisia, Morocco, France, Canada and England in various venues and festivals.
Oreste Noda: Born in Jaguey Grande, Matanzas, Cuba in 1967 Noda is a versatile percussionist with a special interest in congas, bongos and timbal. Noda's Cuban roots meant he was brought up on Afro Cuban, Salsa, Merenge, Son beats amongst many others. Noda came to London in 2004 where Hugh Masekela was at one of his appearances at the Jazz Café in London were he said, "This guy is so good he should be arrested!" Noda has been touring extensively with bands such has Lokkhi Terra and Ska Cubano.
Joe Auckland: Joe plays trumpet and flugelhorn. Since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in 2001 Joe has led a varied and interesting career. He is in demand on both the Jazz and session scenes in London. He has recenty recorded and toured with Madness, as well as Jazz artists Will Collier, Brigitte Beraha and Gwilym Simcock.
Will Collier : Will plays upright and electric bass and guitar. He is also a composer arranger and bandleader in his own right with The Will Collier Septet. He has played with many of the finest British jazz musicians including Gwilym Simcock, the late Bheki Mseleku, or Jamie Cullum.
Ben Somers: Ben plays saxophone. He was brought up on country music and bluegrass by his father, musician Steve Somers. Ben plays saxes, double bass, sings and yodels. He has a great passion for pretty much every type of music. He leads his own quartet, his boogaloo and experimental retro funk group "The Fire-Eaters", co-leads bluegrass groups "The Rocky Mountain Boys" and "The Wagon Tales." He is part of "The Will Collier septet," The Gareth Lockrane big band, Earl Thomas and has played with such greats as Dr John and Roberto Pla.
Ben Reynolds: Ben plays drums. He has been a regular performer on the UK jazz circuit for the past 10 years, as well as abroad. He has played alongside Mark Lockheart, Jacqui Dankworth, Gwilym Simcock and award winning London based jazz band Fraud who won the 2008 BBC innovation award.Â
Jozef Berk: Jozef was born in Slovakia in Banska Bystrica, 1981 in a musical family. Jozef started to play percussion at the age of 15. Since arriving in London in 2006, improved his technique through Noda Oreste (Ska Cubano) guidance and many percussion master classes and trips to Cuba. Jozef performed at several prestigious venues, including Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House, and festivals like Glastonbury, Bestival, Mawazine Rhythm Festival in Morocco, Haarlem Jazz, Paris Jazz festival, Natt Jazz fest in Norway, Ljubljana Jazz.