Loueke was raised in Benin, Africa, and is known for combining harmonic sophistication, soaring melody and a deep knowledge of African music to create a warm and evocative sound. Constantly seeking new combinations and encounters, The Journey finds him playing alongside bassist Pino Palladino and percussionist Cyro Baptista, plus many great classical and jazz musicians, and performers of African and Brazilian music.
"[The Journey] is a wonderful adventure that has brought together the talents of musicians from diverse and varied musical horizons," says Loueke via a press release. "I wanted the rhythmic foundation for this very special album to be deeply rooted in African rhythms and instruments. My improvisation owes so much to the great jazz musicians of the past and the present, but the foundation of my pulsation comes from my birthplace."
The new album also speaks to the refugees and migrants of Loueke's West African homeland and beyond. "The crisis of the refugees is a humanitarian crisis," he says. "Despite the nationalist politicians rising in the west, with their slogan that immigrants are the source of every problem, nothing can stop the migrants. When you are facing famine and civil or ethnic wars, you are not afraid to cross the Mediterranean in a small boat with no food and water. I believe there's a survival instinct in every human being."
The Journey was produced by Robert Sadin and was recorded at Les Studios Saint Germain in Paris, France, with Loueke's vocals and guitar as the foundation. Several of the tracks on the album remain unaccompanied and its closing track, "The Healing," is a capella.
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