Michael League

Michael League is a 3-time Grammy Award-winning musician based out of Brooklyn, New York. He is the creator and bandleader of instrumental music ensemble Snarky Puppy and world music group Bokanté, co-owner of Atlantic Sound Studios, and founder of the record label and music curation source GroundUP Music.

Michael attended the University of North Texas’ jazz studies program for 4 years, then moved to nearby Dallas for another 3 years, where he worked with some of the most influential figures in modern gospel, R&B, and soul music, and was mentored by legendary keyboardist Bernard Wright (Miles Davis, Chaka Khan) before moving to Brooklyn, New York, in 2009, where he currently resides. As an instrumentalist and producer, he has worked with a diverse range of artists in pop (David Crosby, Laura Mvula, Lalah Hathaway, Joe Walsh), gospel (Kirk Franklin, Walter Hawkins, Marvin Sapp, Israel Houghton), jazz (Terence Blanchard, Esperanza Spalding, Joshua Redman, Wayne Krantz, Chris Potter), and world music (Salif Keïta, Eliades Ochoa of the Buena Vista Social Club, Fatoumata Diawara, Bassekou Kouyate, Susana Baca, KardeşTürküler, Väsen). 

As a sophomore in high school, Michael formed the instrumental ensemble Snarky Puppy. As producer, primary composer and bandleader for the group over the last fifteen years, he has earned three Grammy awards and played over 1500 concerts on six continents. 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 4 different continents. Bokanté spent 2017 touring around the world in support of their debut album, Strange Circles. Their second album, a collaboration with the Grammy-winning Metropole Orkest under the baton of Jules Buckley, will be released in fall of 2018.

GroundUP Music, formed in 2011, has moved from independent record label (home to albums from David Crosby, Charlie Hunter, Becca Stevens, Cory Henry, Banda Magda, and manymore) to live event curation, launching the annual GroundUP Music Festival in 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida. It has played host to artists like Béla Fleck, Esperanza Spalding, The Wood Brothers, Robert Glasper, Concha Buika, Terence Blanchard, Joshua Redman, Jacob Collier, Chris Thile, Knower, and Pedrito Martinez, among others.

Michael is passionately committed to music education and outreach, having given clinics and masterclasses at over 200 schools 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. 

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