Leif Totusek , Composer, Guitarist, Vocals

 

Leif Totusek (born 11 May 1964) is an American guitarist, band leader, and composer. He has played, collaborated and been special guest with African Artist Mose Fan Fan, Ali Birra, Geoffrey Oryema, Diblo Dibala, Orchestra Virunga, Tabu Ley Rochereau among others. He is also well versed in the be-bop idiom, and many other musical styles and cultural music.

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Early life

Raised in a musical family on Capitol Hill in Seattle,WA, Totusek began performing at age 15 with Seattle's F.A.M.E and St. Teresa Gospel choirs and numerous musical groups, including: "Lora and Sukutai"(Zimbabwe), "Paisley Sin"(Seattle-grunge), with "M.T.Q." [aka Martin Totusek Quintet] (jazz and blues originals, standards, and the music of Thelonious Monk) at the 1987 Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, and others.

At age 17, he traveled to London and immersed himself in the London ethnic jazz scene. He toured with Soukous veteran Mose se Fan Fan, (former member of the late Franco Luambo Makiadi and TPOK Jazz) and his group "Somo Somo" - members included: Roy Dodds, John Glyn, Huw Warren, Doreen Webster, T. Daniel Howard. He also performed with Nigerian jazz artist Gasper Lawal "The African Oro Band" - Salah Dawson Miller's World fusion band "Orquesta Chakckouka" - Eddie Edem "Hi-life" and with many other world and jazz musicians. In 1982, Leif first created his jazz influenced band "Freestyle Candela" adding Arne Livingston on bass and percussionist Mamadi Kamara on percussion in 1984. It was called "Seattle Jazz" then "Freestyle" before settling on "Freestyle Candela".

At age 26, Totusek moved to Boston, hiring local musicians Joshua Redman, Mark Turner (musician), Scott Gilman, and Jessica Lurie. Blending Soukous, blues, and jazz in his compositions, he helped popularize Zairian soukous guitar in the Boston music scene. He also performed and recorded with the Senegalese band "Ibrahima Camara and Safal".

At age 29, Totusek returned to Seattle, creating his new band name Freestyle Candela. "Today Totusek resides in Seattle still performing shows with his groups "Leif Totusek and 1-2-3", "Freestyle Candela" and other artists.Performances

 

       FREESTYLE CANDELA:

 

       LEIF TOTUEK & 1-2-3

 

Boka Kouyate ~ Djeliyah Band

 

GEOFFREY OREYEMA

 

LORA AND SUKUTAI MARIMBA AND DANCE ENSEMBLE

 

SOMO SOMO

 

IBRAHIMA CAMARA

 

ALI BIRRA

 

ORQUESTA CHAKCHOUKA

 

Bill Summers

Newspaper articles and Radio Reviews

FREESTYLE CANDELA:

other reviews: London jazz Cafe - Elijah Wald - Paul de barros - James Kirchmer - Boston Music Awards - City Limits - Earshot Jazz - Norman Weinstein Monitor Radio

References

Discography