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Now Booking Markus James & The Wassonrai


"Profound world blues passage... driven by a seductive rhythmic circularity that's a keystone of Malian traditional tunes and Delta blues."

Billboard Magazine on his album Snakeskin Violin

USA/ Mali / Guinea

Markus James and the Wassonrai blend together the blues at the heart of the Mississippi Delta with the melodies at the heart of Africa. Their sound simmers just beneath the surface ready to burst through when it’s least expected. Accompanying James (acoustic and electric slide and vocals), are the Wassonrai, featuring Karamba Dioubate (jembe, bolon, vocals), Amadou Camara (karinye, kamele n’goni, calabash, vocals), and Adam Goodhue (drums, percussion).

It should be noted that this collaboration is no happy accident. James’s first taste of West African music came at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. When he was just four years old, James’ musical radar picked up the sounds of Alhaji Bai Konte, a Gambian singer and kora player. Since then, James, born and raised in the United States, has continued on his quest to know more, learn more, and experience more. During the past few years, he’s spent time in Mali with the goal of understanding the relationship between traditional Malian music and the music of the American blues. In fact, many of his compositions draw from West African song structures by forgoing familiar blues chords in favour of harmonies that place an emphasis on lyrical expression. In addition, the members of the Wassonrai complement James’s textured guitar and vocals with ethereal harmonies and brooding rhythms of their own.

Together, Markus James and the Wassonrai start at the Mississippi Delta, journey to West Africa, and land in a special place in between. Listeners would do well to go along for the ride. Click here for a one-sheet.

Please contact us for availability and pricing.


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