Groove – Episode #94: Michael League

Michael League

Photo: Snarky Puppy

Who is Michael League?

Michael is a four-time Grammy Award-winning, five-time Grammy Award-nominated multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer, arranger, songwriter, label owner, and bandleader based in Catalonia, Spain. Not to simplify things, but to the No Treble community, he may be more widely known as the bass player for Snarky Puppy. He doesn’t just play bass in the instrumental music ensemble, he is a founder and runs the collective. Aside from leading Snarky Puppy, Michael maintains a heavy schedule in multiple capacities. As a multi-instrumentalist and producer, he has worked with a diverse range of artists in pop (Joe Walsh, Michael McDonald, Rufus Wainwright), folk (David Crosby, Chris Thile), gospel (Kirk Franklin, Walter Hawkins), jazz (Esperanza Spalding, Joshua Redman, Wayne Krantz), and world music (Salif Keïta, Eliades Ochoa of the Buena Vista Social Club).

Michael also launched the record label GroundUP Music in 2011. He immediately signed eight new artists including Banda Magda, Bill Laurance, and the Funky Knuckles. GroundUP Music launched its first annual music festival in Miami Beach in 2017 and continues to be a trusted source of music curation for curious listeners worldwide.

In 2016, he started the band Bokanté. Blending influence from blues, rock, Caribbean, and West African styles, the group includes an all-star cast of musicians from four different continents.

In 2020, Michael recorded his debut solo album, So Many Me, producing it alongside long-time collaborator Nic Hard. Mixing influences from his childhood with recent studies of folkloric musical traditions, the record features him as the sole composer, arranger, and performer.

Also in 2020, Michael and GroundUP Music Festival director Paul Lehr launched the GroundUP Music Foundation, dedicated to community enrichment through the arts.

If that were not enough, Michael is passionately committed to music education and outreach, having given clinics and masterclasses at over 200 schools on six continents around the world. He is active as a guest speaker in international music business panels and works regularly with non-profit organizations in an effort to better serve the community at large through the arts.

Snarky Puppy has announced tour dates for the new album, Empire Central.

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