Occasionally as music collectors, we stumble into intriguing album titles by extraordinary artists. With that said, “Karibu” means “welcome” in Swahili. The multi-talented guitarist Lionel Loueke from Benin, West Africa returns with another engaging album and his Blue Note Records debut. On this effort, he skillfully guides his energy from an exploratory perspective that is blanketed with a canvas of enticing influences, textures and nuances colored by his international travels.
Like many of his contemporaries, Lionel spent his educational years at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Before his tenure at Berklee, he studied at the prominent National Institute of Art. Admittedly, this is the first record that I’ve owned and listen to in its entirety by Lionel. Nevertheless, I’ve heard Loueke on numerous recordings and most recently the album of the year “Letters to Joni” by Herbie Hancock.