“An album full of traditional West African grooves and contemporary Afropop filtered through the grit of New York.” – WNYC’s Soundcheck
“★★★★- Benyoro’s ancient-meets-modern sound is best captured on the rockyedged ‘Segou Breakdown’ and the dancefloor bomb ‘Subaromaloya’…If you are lucky enough to be in New York when they play, be sure to catch them.” – Songlines magazine
“One of the must-listen albums of 2014.” – PRI’s “The World”
“A fresh, visionary evolution in the hybridization of rock-influenced Saharan music…It’s spirit-lifting morning music, yet equally transports listeners to the magic of the desert after dark.” – Relix magazine
“Benyoro’s debut sets the new bar for Mandé music played in America…A sixman juggernaut…They play together like nobody’s business. The stop-on-a-dime intros and endings are flawless. The dynamics are definitive, shifting briskly from a full-throated roar to a percolating whisper.” – NPR’s Afropop Worldwide
“If you enjoy the traditional sounds of West African music, then you’ll fall in love with Benyoro.” – Ebony magazine
“Bright, buoyant, and inspired.” – Wondering Sound
In the Bamana language of Mali, Benyoro means meeting place, and that’s exactly what this group is. It’s about the meeting of traditional and modern instruments, African and American musicians, and centuries-old songs and modern arrangements. Benyoro brings together members of diverse projects such as Toumani Diabaté’s Symmetric Orchestra, Regina Carter’s Reverse Thread, Toubab Krewe, and Peter Apfelbaum’s New York Heiroglyphics. The band members hail from exotic locales such as Mali, Martinique, and Wisconsin, but what brings them together is a shared love, respect, and understanding of the music of Malian jelis (praise musicians), as well as a desire to modernize it. Patrice Blanchard and Andy Algire form the core of the band on bass and drums, respectively. The addition of Idrissa Koné on taman (talking drum) and Luke Quaranta on djembe gives this rhythm section an unstoppable momentum, while kora (West African harp) player Yacouba Sissoko and guitarist Sam Dickey alternate between elegant accompaniments and blistering solos.
Started in 2012, Benyoro has performed at numerous venues and festivals including River To River Festival, Joshua Tree Music Festival, the U.N. General Assembly, Bear Creek Music and Art Festival, California WorldFest, Brooklyn Bowl, Esalen Institute, Manifestivus, Wesleyan University, City Winery, Joe’s Pub, Barbès, Rockwood Music Hall, and Ashkenaz. In the process, they have shared billing with artists such as Steel Pulse, Marcus Miller, Orgone, Diblo Dibala, Toubab Krewe, Zongo Junction, and Barika.
In Benyoro’s music, the sonorous, stately melodies of traditional jeliya (praisesinging) are sped up and reconfigured into infectious grooves, but even in the midst of all the movement, the reflective core of the music remains. With this meeting of meditative tradition and raucous dance music, Benyoro is a celebration of the communal and universal nature of West African music