Visiting Artists

Visiting Artist Series
Lionel Loueke Trio
Ernest Brown World Music Series

The Williams College Department of Music presents Lionel Loueke Trio as part of the Ernest Brown World Music Series on Monday, April 9 at 8 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. This event is free and open to the public.

Guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke is joined by Massimo Biolcati, bass, and Ferenc Nemeth, drums, in a performance that is strongly informed by Loueke’s African identity.

Lionel Loueke, guitar/vocals
West African guitarist Lionel Loueke was inspired by his brother, who taught him how to play during his late teenage years. Stops at the Ivory Coast’s National Institute of Arts, Paris’ American School of More Than Music, and Berklee College of Music led Loueke to appearances on a series of high-profile recordings, including Terence Blanchard’s Bounce and Flow, Charlie Haden’s Land of the Sun, and Herbie Hancock’s Possibilities. Apart from his role in the trio Gilfema (with bassist Massimo Biolcati and drummer Ferenc Nemeth), Loueke has recorded on his own, including the live In a Trance and Virgin Forest. He released his first Blue Note album, Karibu. Loueke guested on Magos Herrera’s album Distancia. His second album for Blue Note, Mwaliko, appeared in early 2010. In 2012, Loueke released the trio album Heritage, which was produced by and features contributions from acclaimed jazz pianist Robert Glasper. On Gaïa, his fourth album, Loueke continued use of the electric guitar exclusively. He explored expansive notions of African rock and jazz with Biolcati and Nemeth. The album was recorded in front of an invited studio audience, fulfilling the guitarist’s wish to capture the band in a concert setting.

Massimo Biolcati, bass
Bassist Massimo Biolcati has recorded and performed extensively with a variety jazz artists since the early 2000s. His most consistent collaboration has been in trio format with fellow Berklee College of Music and subsequently, Thelonius Monk Institute classmates, Lionel Loueke and Ferenc Nemeth.


His longstanding friendship with the West African and Hungarian musicians manifests in a couple of projects, namely the Lionel Loueke Trio and GilFeMa, the latter of which sees the trio sharing equal songwriting and arrangement duties. The trio’s reputation for complex rhythms rooted in African traditions and strong melodic compositions – often outlined by Loueke’s singing – have made them a formidable live experience.

Massimo developed his musical voice whilst negotiating the cultural seesaw of a Swedish-Italian childhood. His early influences range from symphonic rock to Pat Metheny and Dave Holland, all of which have contributed to his strikingly original blend of extended compositions, unusual time signatures, and a lyrical, melodic style. “Growing up in both, Italy and Sweden and speaking two languages probably most significantly influenced my own musical development, because I had such a vast, exciting playground to explore. It stoked my early curiosity about different music from different places,” says Biolcati. “In jazz and improvised music, I have found the perfect medium to pour all the things I assimilate in my ongoing journey of discovery.”

Ferenc Nemeth, drums
Ferenc Nemeth is an accomplished and versatile musician who continues to push the boundaries of jazz drumming and composition. Nemeth has, since the early days of his career, been one of the most sought after drummers,both in his native Hungary as well as in the United States. Coming from a musical family, his unique dynamism and versatility was fostered from a very early age. An exciting performer and imaginative collaborator, Nemeth is well regarded for his work with the Lionel Loueke Trio and GilFeMa and has also travelled, performed and collaborated extensively as a bandleader, co-leader, sideman and educator as well as initiating creative projects of his own. From his early days at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Thelonius Monk Insitute of Jazz in Los Angeles, Nemeth has learned from and worked with the world’s finest jazz musicians and groups.

An ever-present thirst for exploration and experimentation has seen Nemeth travel widely and play with musicians from a variety of backgrounds and countries. This occupation has in turn resulted in Nemeth’s regular participation in workshops and teaching programs in the United States and internationally, the most recent being stints at the University of Siena, the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India, the Kodolanyi University in Hungary, the Bartok Conservatory in Hungary, the Asheville Percussion Festival in North Carolina and the Wheeler School in Providence.

The Ernest Brown World Music Series brings musicians from across the globe to share their musical talents with the Williams College community. The series is named for Professor Emeritus Ernest D. Brown, who taught at Williams from 1988 to 2011.