Like his music, James BKS’ live show is a hybrid patchwork of avant-garde urban music and traditional African instruments. He delivers his story on stage, a journey through Europe, the United States and Africa.
Within this live band, in addition to the marimbas and keyboards, James becomes the conductor with his singular tool, a custom-made software that allows the Maestro to interact with his stage mates, amongst whom are Manu Dibango’s drummer, Guy Nwogang, but also the virtuosos Elias Israel on the guitar, Black Kamoni on the bass, Anna Kova and Gracy Hopkins on vocals and finally Osei Agyei and Anaelle Solet on backing vocals. A holistic and coherent ensemble that reinterprets James BKS’s work with unparalleled energy.
Born in France in 1990, from a family of musicians, Elias first learned to play the piano by reproducing what he heard, then it was at 12 years old that he learned the guitar by himself; interested in blues music with artists like Jimi Hendrix or BB King, was gradually born an interest in other styles like Mandingo music, rhythm, blues, soul, gospel, jazz.
At 17, he gave his first concert; at 20, after scientific studies, he professionalized by giving acoustic performances with, among others, Yoann Freget who will be the winner of the second season of The Voice, and Slimane (The Voice 5th season). The animation of jam sessions and open mics also allowed him to build a large repertoire. Subsequently, Elias played in groups such as 3/4, a resident group on the Hanounight Show on Canal +, then in 2017 he accompanied the resident group of Nouvelle Star on M6. Today, he works in France and abroad with independent artists, groups and orchestras.
Born in Cameroon, Guy moved to France in the 2000s. He started the guitar at the age of 6 years. Around eight years old, he opted for the drums and reproduced the sounds of his peers broadcasted on the airwaves, and because Cameroon is not endowed with music schools, this is how he taught himself how to play music. At fourteen, he was the drummer of his high school group.
At the age of twenty begins an international adventure for a three-month tour in Germany, with the group Otoulbaka. Then the recording of the album be za boa by Anne-Marie Ndzie, as well as a tour in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. From this moment, he goes on tour around the world with Manu Dibango, Djamel Laroussi, Stevie Wonder, Salif Keita … He accompanied, among others, Mc Solaar, Djamel Laroussi, The Nubians, Etienne Mbappe, Jean Jacques Elangue, Bens Belinga, Claudine Francois, Philippe Combelle, Mario Canonge, Buren, Brice Wassy, Papa Wemba, Moriba Koita …
Born in Kinshasa and from a family of musicians, Black Kamoni began when he was 12 years old asking the bassists in his city to learn alongside them. After 3 years, several concerts performed in the church and participation in national competitions, he left the Congo for Angola, the country in which he first played in the orchestra of the local church. This is how he meets great Angolan musicians like Dodo Miranda, Joao Lorenzo, Vladmiro Gona, Elizabeth Mambo and more.
He followed them until 2016 in concert as in recording studio, before hitting the road for Europe as part of a tour which brought him notably to Portugal. He has been pursuing since his career in France, notably alongside Olivier Tshimanga, and other musicians such as drummers Guy Bilong or Carlos Gbaguidi, pianist Philippe Monange …
Exhilarating, Anna Kova is animated by a communicative energy that carries everything in its path. From an early age, music takes a big place in his life. Supported by her music-loving grandmother who transmits her love of the piano, she already takes classes at the conservatory. Alongside this discipline, she studies dance (ballet, modern, hip hop), which will make her discover other musical styles.
From these influctions comes a voice, a special placement and a recognizable signature from the first notes, which she will continue to refine by joining the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Thanks to different vocal techniques, her voice gains depth and contrasts. During these American years, she composed MHAW (My Heart is not Wrong), influenced by soul, motown, modern r’n’b and a hip-hop culture in full (r)evolution. The musical language of Anna Kova mixes genres and translates into personal semantics : texts are as important as music, words are fluid, made of sound and rhythmics.
The cultural offspring of three continents, with roots stretching from Angola to Brazil and deep in the suburbs of Paris, Gracy Hopkins represents a new chapter in global hip hop. It transcends musical and linguistic boundaries with a subtle mix of English rhymes and French expressions on instrumental from all coasts.
Hopkins began his rap career in Middle School and he was during the same period that he started creating his own beats under the name of Kaisy Jay.
Today, it resulted in the cool mix of throaty rap sprinkled on Gracy Hopkins’ minimalist and experimental beats.