Babatunde lea
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Babatunde lea


Band Jazz World


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The best kept secret in music


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2003 Babatunde Lea “Level of Intent”
2003 Babatunde Lea “Soul Pools
2000 Babatunde Lea “March of the Jazz Guerrillas”
1995 Babatunde Lea “Level of Intent"
1979 Babatunde Lea “Level of Consciousness"


Feeling a bit camera shy


Babatunde Lea has forged a career steeped in the rhythms of the Motherland of Africa and its Caribbean & South American diaspora. Lea was raised in New York and Englewood, New Jersey, but in the late 1960s migrated westward to the Bay Area, where he was further immersed in global rhythms, courtesy of such affiliations as fellow percussionist Bill Summers’ (The Headhunters; Los Hombres Calientes) visionary ensemble Bata Koto. ‘Tunde, as he is known to intimates, has also drawn immeasurable experience working with such singular stylists as Leon Thomas, Pharoah Sanders, Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Van Morrison, Oscar Brown, Jr., Omar Sosa and a host of others.

Lea’s cultural quest doesn’t end at the bandstand. Since 1993 he and spouse Dr. Virginia Lea have operated the Educultural Foundation, a San Francisco Bay Area youth education operation that through a variety of programs immerses students and schools in global rhythms primarily from Africa and the Caribbean diaspora. “The Educultural Foundation is something my wife and I put together to sow seeds of change and be agents of change, trying to better ourselves and our communities. We teach critical thinking about social and cultural issues through the arts,” the drummer informs. One of their programs, Yo Ancestors! neatly dovetails and is a precursor to Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost’s quest for the spiritual essences.

Babatunde Lea is one of those “old souls.” You know the type: wise and serene, blessed with a culturally diverse perspective, bubbling over with ideas and creative energies that strongly suggest they’ve been this way before; someone deeply in touch with the spiritual essences. Such an impression is borne out in spades by ‘Tunde’s newest entry in the growing tradition of Motéma Music. Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost is a journey through the spirit world powered by contemporary, deeply sculpted grooves and articulations specially crafted by this master percussionist; all delivered by a high-spirited crew of musicians. To label Babatunde Lea a multiple percussionist is to recognize the holistic, global approach and depth of his skills, as both trap drummer – from whence he primarily operates – as well as hand drums and miscellaneous percussion from diverse sources.

The music of Babatunde Lea is both stimulating to the body and “educultural” for the mind..