Unlikely duo blends musical styles at ArtsLIVE

By: Mallory Roshkowski – Staff Writer

A rapper/beatboxer/singer-song writer from New York and a West African musician known for playing the kora will perform together at the University of Dayton Thursday night. Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate’s performance is part of the ArtsLIVE program, supported by the college of arts and sciences and partially sponsored by Dayton City Paper.

ArtsLIVE works to bring artists to campus that enable audiences to better understand the joys and challenges of being a human.

Driscoll and Kouyate first came together at a music festival in Marseille, France, in 2010. With Driscoll speaking only English and Kouyate solely speaking French, music became their main form of communication. According to their website, their initial collaboration in France lead to the formation of their band, the recording of their album “Faya” and more than 120 tour dates across Europe.

“The result of their collaboration speaks volumes – and has reached audiences across continents,” Eileen Carr, ArtsLIVE coordinator, said.

Cee-Lo Green has labeled Driscoll as “the gangsta with the iron lung” due to his unique combination of hip-hop and folk music. Kouyate has been frequently called the Jimi Hendrix of the kora, a 21-string lute-bridge-harp used in West Africa. With talent this extensive, Thursday night’s performance will be unique and powerful.

“We’re excited to be able to present these musicians who show us some of the magic that can happen when you open yourself up to new experiences and new worlds,” Carr said.

On Driscoll and Kouyate’s website, their sound is described as, “a blend of hip-hop, spoken word, funk, and soulful, accessible rock with Afrobeat, reggae and irrepressible African grooves.” They have combined several different elements from their backgrounds that bring personal ties into their distinctive sound.

Driscoll and Kouyate are playing at UD as part of a U.S. tour that started in Boston and will continue through New York City, Toronto, Montreal and Chicago.

As part of promotions for the event, UD’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) will be hosting table hours outside of KU on Monday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. PRSSA will pass out flyers with promotional code for a “two-for-one” ticket deal and a link to a free download of one of Driscoll and Kouyate’s songs. During the table hours, PRSSA plans to share a playlist of songs from the new album “Faya” so students can get a taste of what the concert will feature.

Tickets for Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate’s performance Thursday at 8 p.m. in Boll Theatre are available for purchase online at go.udayton.edu/artslive or at the KU Box office by calling 937-229-2545. Tickets are $12 for UD students, $12 for faculty, staff, alumni and seniors and $8 for youth.