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Papa Mali is a New Orleans singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer whose multi-faceted career has explored many areas of American and world music. He was voted Best Roots Rock Artist by Offbeat Magazine’s readers, who also named his latest release, Music is Love, as Roots Rock Album of the Year. Music is Love was produced by veteran record producer John Chelew, a three-time Grammy winner for his work with The Blind Boys of Alabama. In 2015, Papa Mali signed with 429 Records, whose roster also includes Los Lobos, Boz Scaggs, Robbie Robertson, Dr. John and many others.
In the past few years, Papa Mali’s original songs have been featured in several popular television series including American Horror Story (FX), Banshee (Cinemax), Colony (USA Network), and No Activity (CBS All Access).
He is a founding member, lead singer and producer of 7 Walkers, a band formed in 2008 with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, Meters bassist George Porter, Jr. and Matt Hubbard. Their self-titled 2010 release debuted at # on the Relix/Jamband charts, holding that position for the following three months. The single from the album, “King Cotton Blues,” features a Papa Mali vocal duet with Willie Nelson and is one of nine original compositions co-written for the album by Mali and longtime Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter. He is also a founding member, guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer of supergroup, The M&Ms, which also features keyboardist John Medeski (Medeski, Martin and Wood), drummer Stanton Moore and bassist Robert Mercurio (both of Galactic).
A Louisiana native who has traveled the globe, he returned home for good in April of 2011. He and his wife (who met at Jazz Fest in ’82) soon bought a 150 year-old historic house to renovate and have been full-time New Orleans residents, ever since. In his own words: “I’ve been all around the world, lived in other cities, even in other countries, but New Orleans is the only place that has ever felt like home. And when you feel it, you just know it.”
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