Introducing Sylvain Leroux

One Friday, April 21, we’re mashing up two cultures on one stage with an open dance floor in the third installment of our popular Global Mashup Series: Mali Meets Morocco.

Sylvain Leroux and Source present a danceable mix of music from Mali with a jazz inflection, and Rachid Halihal and Fez present Moroccan classical and folk music. Each band plays a set, then the two meet and jam. You can purchase tickets here.

We talked with Sylvain about this week’s upcoming performance.

When was your group founded?

Since I emerged from music school, I always had a group. I first used the name “Source” in my early twenties when I had a trio in Montreal. After other iterations I resuscitated the name about twenty years ago and started playing around New York. At first it was a quartet with the standard formation of bass, drums, keyboards and myself on winds but the advent of Malian singer Abdoulaye Diabate, with whom I was collaborating on other projects and had developed a friendship, transformed the unit from a World Jazz into an real African Jazz ensemble.

What led you to found the group?

I had been working with other artists but I wanted to play and develop my own music.

Who will be on stage at Flushing Town Hall?

Other than myself, playing flute, Fula flute (African flute from Guinea) and alto saxophone, there will be our lead singer and guitarist Abdoulaye Diabate from Mali, Keyboardist Emy Yabuno from Japan, Bassist Mamadou Ba from Senegal and American drummer Sean Dixon. Also, dancer Dionne Kamara will coach the audience in some dance steps. For twelve years, Source was an anchor group at the Zinc Bar’s African Fridays, a series that ran for nearly twenty years at the legendary club.

Describe your music.

A profound fusion of jazz and West African music, meaning the melding of styles is not operating on the surface but with a deep understanding of African esthetic and ethics.

What can your audience expect to experience at Flushing Town Hall?

Lively authentic African grooves with extraordinary singing and soloing by artists who are masters of their craft.

What is your impression of Flushing Town Hall?

I have played at FTH on a few occasions and attended other events there and found it to be a wonderful, professional venue serving a receptive and appreciative audience.

What do like most about live performances?

The immediacy and excitement to make music energized by the feedback from the audience.

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