“Amkeni”, a collaboration between Snarky Puppy and Burundian refugee Bukuru Celestin, has been released on GroundUp Records (groundup.ropeadope.com/). The album (the title of which means “wake up” in Swahili) combines Central African folkloric and gospel musics with Snarky Puppy’s inventive jazz/funk twists to create a joyous, infectious sound. (Read Happiness in the Groove review of here)
Snarky Puppy founder and bassist Michael League remarks, “It was an incredible experience applying the band’s creative tweaks to music of such strong, rich roots. The challenge was trying to strike the balance between honoring the musical tradition while still being ourselves and taking the songs to different places. From a bass playing perspective, it was especially fun for me to get away from my normal 4-string Precision sound. I played the majority of the record on a 5-string Alleva-Coppolo to get a more authentic, appropriate tone for the material. I also played my 1967 Hofner on “Shima,” which sounded amazing through the usual Markbass TTE 500, 4×10 and 4×8 rig. I think that being a chameleon both as an individual and a band is really important… it really helped each of us to get out of our comfort zones.”.
The recording was facilitated through the Jefferson Center Music Lab, located in Roanoke, VA, and a made possible by a grant from Chamber Music America. “Amkeni” can be heard and purchased at bukuru.bandcamp.com and iTunes. Tour dates and more information from Snarky Puppy can be found at snarkypuppy.com.