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Artist Spotlight: Lionel Loueke

West African influences run deep with this inventive guitarist/singer

Lionel Loueke
Lionel Loueke (photo: Jean-Baptiste Millot)

Lionel Loueke, the fearsomely talented Beninese guitarist and singer, has won deep respect from critics and peers alike for his individualism, rhythmic capabilities, and exhaustive harmonic knowledge.

Born in 1973 in Benin’s capital city of Cotonou, Loueke transforms the guitar into a virtual Afro-Western orchestra through techniques that evoke instruments like the kalimba (by muting his strings with crepe paper) and the talking drum (with help from his DigiTech Whammy pedal).

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