Originally from the small West African nation of Benin, guitarist Lionel Loueke has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past several years. Praised by his mentor Herbie Hancock as “a musical painter,” Loueke combines harmonic sophistication, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African music, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own.
Lionel Loueke’s sophomore release for Blue Note, Mwaliko, follows up 2007′s acclaimed Karibu with a series of searching, innovative, intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona and Marcus Gilmore. Mwaliko (pronounced mwah-LEE-koh) is Swahili for “invitation,” and as Loueke explains, “you can see the title two ways. One is I’m inviting my friends and fellow musicians to make these duo recordings, and the other is an invitation to all listeners to enjoy the music.”
Lionel Loueke with Esperanza Spalding – “Twins”