We can all enjoy some mindless pop music from time to time. But music with meaning and a story behind it will always stay around much longer. The listener can get absorbed in the multiple facets of the music and want to dive in deeper to hear more from the artist. Our friend Pascal Bokar is a prime example. He is back with a new record to take us on another full journey into sound.
The guitarist, vocalist, professor, author, and doctor has led a life diving deep into music and the origins of it. Growing up in West Africa before relocating to San Francisco many years ago gave Pascal Bokar a strong connection to the heritage and music of the area. Some time in America showed him the many connections between West African music and the sounds of the American South. This got deep into the musician’s mind and he went on to create his own blended musical style that has become known as AfroBlueGrazz.
IndieBandGuru covered the first full length album of the style by Pascal Bokar titled American Shores HERE. Now he is back to make a resounding musical statement of the nature of the multi-cultural expressions and legacies of West African heritage and African American traditions through the Blues with his next installment American Trails.
The 6-track EP connects the American musical traditions of the South with the original 4 string instrument from Mail West Africa, Ngoni (or banjo), and the West African balafon (ancestor of the xylophone). It is truly a cross-world entrance into the AfroBlueGrazz genre. Right from the first track “The Blues Don’t Like Nobody” (a cover from Blues Great Otis Spann), virtuoso guitarist Pascal Bokar shows off his amazing talent with the instrument. Paula Harris is brought in for vocal accompaniment to further the musical party. Paula is kept around for the shift into romance AfroBlueGrazz on “I Wanna See You In My Dreams.” The back and forth vocals meshed with unique instrumentation adds layers of love to the track.
The party picks back up with “You Smile Inside My Nights” as the West African influence is felt. Even with smooth and soulful lyrics the instrumentation puts real energy into the song. There is a lot of sound coming together hear for one full sonic tapestry filling the speakers. The American South sound creeps into the mix on “Let It Groove All Night Long” as a country feel and some scat blues influence can be heard.
The album closes with the energetic “When I See You There” bringing it all together for one last worldwide party of sound. Sounds seem to come from all angles as Pascal Bokar shreds on guitar, and pours heart and emotion into the vocals. Piano and drum solo fills flesh out the experience. This is music that is much greater than the sum of its parts.
Dive deeper in the AfroBlueGrazz sound on the Pascal Bokar WEBSITE.