An Evening with Raul Midón and Lionel Loueke

Sunday, June 23, 2019 @ 7:00 PM
  • Museum Members receive a 10% ticket discount

Event Details

Genre-bending icons Raul Midón and Lionel Loueke join forces to present a special night of song and guitar wizardry. The revered musicans will perform sets of original material in an evening that will culminate in an unforgettable jam.

Heralded as a "one-man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus," (NY Times) Raul Midón has collaborated with such heroes as Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Jason Mraz, Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg. Blind since birth, Midón produced-engineered his 2017 album, Bad Ass and Blind, using special computer software for the blind. The album, which confronts the challenges of his blindness with verve and grace, received a 2018 Grammy nomination in the category Best Jazz Vocal Album. Midón's 2018 follow up release, If You Really Want, was nominated for a 2019 Grammy award in this same category.

Benin guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke has received critical acclaim from both his idols and contemporaries. Paul Simon raves that Loueke is "one of a rare handful of guitarists that move effortlessly between his West African roots and modern American Jazz," and Sting cites Loueke as "one the most original, essential and inspiring musicians on our planet today.” As a Blue Note Recording artist and member of Herbie Hancock's band for the past 10 years, Loueke combines harmonic complexity, soaring melody, and a deep knowledge of African folk forms with conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own.


Guest Details


Lionel Loueke

Lionel Loueke

Starting out on vocals and percussion, Loueke picked up the guitar late, at age 17. After his initial to exposure to jazz in Benin, he left to attend the National Institute of Art in nearby Ivory Coast. In 1994 he left Africa to pursue jazz studies at the American School of Modern Music in Paris, then came to the U.S. on a scholarship to Berklee. From there, Loueke gained acceptance to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he encountered his Gilfema bandmates Biolcati, Nemeth, Parlato and other musicians with whom he would form lasting creative relationships.

Praised by his mentor Herbie Hancock as “a musical painter,” Loueke combines harmonic complexity, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African folk forms, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own. His previous Blue Note release, Mwaliko, offered a series of searching, intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Richard Bona, Esperanza Spalding and Marcus Gilmore — artists and allies who continue to have a profound impact on Loueke's vision as a bandleader.

In addition to Karibu and three previous albums with Gilfema (Gilfema, Virgin Forest, Gilfema + 2), Loueke has appeared on Terence Blanchard’s Grammy-nominated Flow (2005) and Hancock’s Grammy-winning River: The Joni Letters (2008). He has also toured the world as a member of Hancock’s band and appeared on recordings by such legends as Jack DeJohnette (Sound Travels), Charlie Haden (Land of the Sun), Kenny Barron (The Traveler) and Gonzalo Rubalcaba (XXI Century). He has also recorded with Esperanza Spalding (Radio Music Society), Gretchen Parlato (In a Dream), Avishai Cohen (After the Big Rain), Kendrick Scott (Source) and other leading peers.


Raul Midón

Raul Midón

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Raul Midón has earned renown as one of music’s most distinctive and searching voices – “a one-man band... who is spiritually connected,” according to The New York Times, and “an eclectic adventurist,” in the words of People magazine. The New Mexico native, blind since birth, has released eight albums since 1999, including the acclaimed studio productions Don’t Hesitate (Mack Avenue/Artistry, 2014), Synthesis (Decca/Universal, 2009), A World Within a World (Manhattan/EMI, 2007) and State of Mind (Manhattan/EMI, 2005). Midón’s questing musicality makes him, as the Huffington Post put it, “a free man beyond category.” Attesting to his enduring ambitions is Midón’s ninth studio album, Bad Ass and Blind, set for release via Mack Avenue/Artistry Music on March 24, 2017.

Search for “Raul Midón” on YouTube and you’ll find a clip of him appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman in 2006. Performing “State of Mind,” the title track from his major-label debut, Midón unveils what would become his signature combination of silky tenor voice and percussive guitar style. His guitar playing is a syncopated, flamenco- and jazz-infused wonder in which bass, harmony and melodic lines fly from the fretboard in a way that seems to belie the fact that all the music is being produced by just two hands. If that weren’t enough, Midón busts out his improvisational mouth-horn technique, in which he creates a bebop “trumpet” solo entirely with his lips, earning himself a spontaneous burst of mid-song applause from the audience in the process. It’s the sort of performance that led the Huffington Post to describe how “he plays with such freedom and joy that his hands smile.” Billboard called him, simply and aptly, “a virtuoso.” Subsequently, Midón’s live 2016 rendition of John Coltrane’s jazz classic “Giant Steps” – which sees him fly through all 12 keys – has earned more than 1.2 million views via Facebook.