Markus James & The Wassonrai Now Booking!
"Africa and Mississippi come together..." BLUES REVUE MAGAZINE
"They are the next phase in roots music"--STRAWBERRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Roots Blues Traveler Markus James joins forces with four West African music masters to cook up what NPR Music calls "Rock with a West African twist" in the group Markus James and The Wassonrai. Thundering West African percussion meets voodoo-trance North Mississippi-style guitar riffs, with vocals in English and Mali's Bambara languages.
While Markus James' original Blues-based collaborations, recorded in Mali West Africa and in Mississippi, have received widespread critical acclaim here in the US and in Europe, his live shows with the Wassonrai - West African artists based in Northern California - are uniquely wild affairs, only available at their club and Festival appearances, with some songs ranging to 20 minutes, in the spirit of the traditions they are based in. Originally from Northern Virginia, Markus has been based in the Bay Area for many years, as are his main collaborators in Markus James and the Wassonrai, players who hail from Mali, Guinea and Benin / Togo. Markus is a recording artist whose productions skills and musical passion have lead him to create music with both Mississippi hill country blues artists including North Mississippi drummers Calvin Jackson (R.L. Burnside) and in Mali with many artists including Vieux Farka Toure and Hamma Sankare (Ali Farka Toure). Billboard Magazine writes about his latest album Snakeskin Violin, "Profound world blues passage... driven by a seductive rhythmic circularity that's a keystone of Malian traditional tunes and Delta blues." Their live shows are incendiary, fusing house-rocking African drumming with trancelike North Mississippi-style slide guitar riffs.
Please contact us with your questions and requests for the riders.