“If you close your eyes, you’d never know!” exclaimed members of Kenyan band Sauti Sol, commenting on the contrast between the authentic sounds of the Afrocentric band and their deceiving appearance. Bamako Airlines is composed of eight veteran musicians with backgrounds in a variety of genres, who are all drawn to the polyrhythmic, electric nature of Afropop.
Vocalist Meera Chandy is trained in Indian classical music and handles the trills and pentatonic scales of Afropop with ease. Meera was introduced to the genre over a decade ago along with trumpeter and arranger Brian Carr when they joined an Afropop ensemble at The University of Texas at Austin. Guitarist Chris Vestre, of Torch fame, also leads his own critically lauded jazz ensemble. Michael Goldsmith (guitar) has a post-rock background and has scored various internet and film projects. David Justh is an accomplished drummer and has spent many years studying percussion in Brazil. Latin influences also permeate Bamako Airlines through Greg Goodman, veteran bassist of Sexto Sol and Kiko Villamizar. Hailing from Conakry, Guinea, master percussionist Aboubacar Sylla attacks the polyrhythms of Afropop with unfettered joy.