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Buku Broux

New Orleans World Fusion


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Buku- Orig. (French) New Orleans Slang- signifying- "A lot Of"

Broux- Orig. An Amalgamation of Brew and Roux- signifying-  A concoction, A Mixing Together

Formed in May of 2012, in New Orleans- Buku Broux is a hard hitting world fusion trio combining elements of R&B, Rock, Jazz, and World genres into a creation thoroughly New Orleans.   Featuring Jonah Tobias' Electric Bass Kora, a home built, modified Malian instrument,  the Trio has a sound that is at once mystic and urban, ephereal and funky.   As Jonah's Bass Kora lays down the bass and rhythm, the lead is often swapped and shared in a musical conversation with Alto Saxophonist Phillip Sylve's surprising and eclectic style. Formally trained at UNO's Jazz Studies program, Sylve pushes the boundaries of modern saxophone playing fusing a deeply felt soulful jazz style with improvisations at times more akin to an electric guitar or a synthesizer. Driving the bands Rhythm's is Sao Paulo percussionist, Fernando Lima. .A Virtuoso of the Brazilian tradition of subtle and complex  percussion dynamics, Lima has pushed the tradition far enough to claim his own unique style of drumming- a combination of intricate polyrhythms and a more melodic and textured approach to percussion. The result is a sound powerful and original, a distinctly new Orleans brewing of vastly different influences and backgrounds.  If World Fusion is the most apt description of the influences of the group, it may also be a fitting nod to the universality of their creation.

Jonah Tobias (RI/FL/CA)- Electric Bass Kora 

“There's certainly something mystic and mysterious to me about the Kora- for me my music is equal parts expression and exploration.  I don't know a great deal about the Mandinka culture that the Kora comes from-  but the instrument has a kind of greater openness that I really believe in."
Growing up in RI, Jonah first began playing music in the percussion section of his schools band before later switching to guitar and then keyboards.
“I experimented with a lot of different instruments, violin, mandolin, harmonica... and I studied them and learned a bit- but I can't say I really understood or bonded with an instrument, or even that I really became a musician until I came across the Kora.”
It was at a World Music Festival in Oregon, August 2010 that Jonah first saw Senegalese Kora player Youssoupha Sidibe and became inspired. After purchasing his first Kora from an artisan at the event, Jonah moved to New Orleans one rainy Mardi Gras friday in 2012.
“What Yousoupha did with the Kora, the first time I ever saw it, really obliterated me. It was visceral. Its tough to explain exactly what it felt like but it was almost like a religious experience. Surreal, even. I knew I had to play this instrument, but, at first, It kept obliterating me (laughs). I felt like I just wanted to cry or something after playing each time, I figured if I kept this up I might go mad. So I began making changes; In my lifestyle, my diet, my preferences, really everything shifted at that point, because I had to become worthy of the thing. I also changed the instrument- rebuilding the neck and bridge so that I could fill out the Bass Octave and electrify it. Really it came down to grounding- the Kora's really beautiful and open but all that just leaves you wheepy and tired unless you have the toughness to back it up.”
So, how does Jonah stay grounded?
“I box, I run... I try not to eat too much sugar? (laughs).... But also its a type of musical mentality. The truth is I've learned just as much from American musical cultures like Hip-Hop, Rhythm and Blues, and Jazz as I have from Kora players or other musicians from the region. Youssoupha's my hero, and I love Amadou and Miram from Mali- but on the day to day basis, I live and play here in New Orleans and you're more likely to hear lines in my music sampled from Lil Wayne or Dr. John.”


Fernando Lima (Brazil)- Percussion

New Orleans is a city with a rich history of rhythm. In this way, it is not so different from Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Fernando Lima lived and studied percussion.
“New Orleans is really similar in some aspects with Brazil- seems like a kind of transition between South America and North America- people are really friendly, lot of things to do in the city”.
Surprisingly, as a child, Lima didn't listen to any music at all, except for what his mother played in the house. This all changed one day when Fernando was 13, and decided to put on one of his mother's records- “Queen”.
“I didn't like music at first but when I heard this record, it gave to me a nostalgia- I knew then I wanted to become a musician but I thought maybe guitar. Later, I began banging on the counter with silverware, and decided I wanted to play the drums.”
An unusual entrance to music would be followed by an unusual approach to the drums. Playing on everything from custom sets derived from traffic cones, briefcases and spray cans, to more traditional jazz kits, Lima gradually developed his original sound.
“I think I'm not a traditional drummer. I really like piano stuff- I'm also a composer. I try to play the drums in a more a melodic way. I really like different rhythms- don't want to do the same stuff all the time.”

While in Sao Paulo, Fernando obtained a bachelors in percussion and found work as a drum teacher. He also performed in as diverse groups as a local wedding band, an internationally acclaimed video-game band, progressive and modern rock outfits, as well as backing up such renowned musicians as Alejandro Sanz.
“I find influence in Joel Rosenblatt, Steve Smith, Jojo Mayer, Edu Ribeiro, Jayme Pladevall... But actually I feel that my influences on drums as well comes most of the part from the music I listen to – everything from Beethoven to Final Fantasy.”
After studying the history of jazz in University, Lima decided to move to New Orleans in Spring 2012.
Since then he has performed with many bands in New Orleans, from the trad. Jazz of the Faux Barrio Billionaires, to the southern garage rock of the Kenneth Triche Project, to a fusion folk project with fellow Brazilian Riccardo Crespo . In the band Buku Broux, Lima takes this flexibility of style to a whole new level.
“When I first began with Jonah, I started to play with just a couple of pieces of drums so I had to create my own style of playing, and then as I added more pieces, it became more complex... Basically I started from scratch.”

Hard Driving yet often subtle, employing a very Brazilian sense of dynamics and a world percussion approach to the drum-set, Lima is mapping out a new terrain in the world of rhythm. So what would he like to see in the future?
“Well... I would like to record my own compositions... and of course I hope we get big... (Laughs) Really, I just want to have a relaxed life.”
Philip Sylve- Alto Saxophone

Philip Sylve was born and raised on the west bank, New Orleans.  He has studied Saxophone since a child and majored in Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans. He has played with many bands in and around the city as well as various jazz ensembles.  Like the well known moniker of that most famous of all Alto players, Sylve's playing can best be described as that of a bird's, picking up sounds and music from as various sources as his ears can hear, from classic and well studied lines from the history of jazz, to emulations of guitar or synthesizer, to the bellowing of ferry or the mesmerizing effects of an echo in a tunnel.  Sylve expands the possibilities of his playing beyond the conventional and back into that primordial hotbed of music- where rhtyhms and textures are multitude and every sound can become inspirational.


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