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Leif Sebastian Totusek
Leif totusek group.jpg
Leif Totusek live at The Triple Door, Seattle, Washington, September 8, 2008
Background information
Born (1964-05-11) May 11, 1964 (age 54)
Genres Soukous, Congolese rumba, jazz fusion, Gypsy music, Irish music, blues, bebop
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, band leader
Instruments guitar, vocals
Years active 1970s–present
Website www.leiftotusek.com

Leif Sebastian 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.

Early life[edit]

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[edit]

FREESTYLE CANDELA:

LEIF TOTUEK & 1-2-3

  • 2018 - 1/5/18 Latona Pub
  • 2017 - Latona Pub
  • 2016 - The Washington Center for the Performing Arts
  • 2016 - Seattle Public Library - Seattle PlayBack
  • 2015 - High Point Community Center
  • 2014 - March 24 High Point Neighborhood House
  • 2013 - January 4 Latona Pub GEP Foundation: Groupe en Priere (“Group in Prayer”) Haiti Benefit Show
  • 2012 - HighPoint Bataan Park Grand Opening
  • 2011 - September 2 - Colombia City Beat Walk
  • 2010 - Latona Pub
  • 2009 August 13 Earshot Jazz "The Art of Jazz" Seattle Art Museum
  • 2007 August 5 The Royal Esquire Club
  • 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 The Triple Door
  • 2006 Jazz in the Park, Seward Park Amphitheatre [1]
  • 2002/2009 Earshot Jazz Seattle Art Museum
  • 2002 Experience Music Project Museum of Pop Culture . . .

Boka Kouyate ~ Djeliyah Band

  • 2017 Festival Sundiata - Seattle Center
  • 2017 World Rhythm Festival - Seattle Center
  • 2016 Columbia City Theater - Seattle, WA
  • 2016 Mamaya @ Seward Park Amphitheater
  • 2016 Festival Sundiata - Seattle Center
  • 2016 World Rhythm Festival- Seattle Center
  • 2016 The Triple Door
  • 2016 Kunta Kinteh Island Tacoma Film premier - Life Center Central
  • 2015 Nectar Lounge - Seattle, WA

GEOFFREY OREYEMA

LORA AND SUKUTAI MARIMBA AND DANCE ENSEMBLE

SOMO SOMO

IBRAHIMA CAMARA

ALI BIRRA

ORQUESTA CHAKCHOUKA

Bill Summers

  • "Bill Summers (musician)" "Hands Across America" 1986 The Bagley Wright Theatre. .

Newspaper articles and Radio Reviews[edit]

FREESTYLE CANDELA:

  • Banning Eyre/Boston Phoenix, March 22, 1991 [2]
  • Norman Weinstein/NPR (Monitor Radio) Dec. 13,1996
  • Danny Housman/Seattle Stranger - January 24, 1994 [3]
  • Fernando Gonzalez Boston/ Globe - Friday, March 6, 1992
  • Boston Music Awards March 2, 1992
  • James Kirchmer/The Stranger 1999 1-2-3 review [4]
  • James Kirchmer/The Stranger 1999 [5]
  • James Kirchmer/The Stranger 2000 FREESTYLE CANDELA [6]
  • David Meinert/Seattle Weekly 2002
  • Erik Neumann/Seattle Weekly 2009 [7] [8]
  • NICK FELDMAN/Seattle Weekly 2011 [9]
  • The Entertainer/Tri-Cities, WA 2012
  • Portland Blues Festival 2013 [10]
  • Jeff Melton/Oregon Music News July 5, 2014
  • The Stranger/****Recommended Aug. 14-19, 6:30 p.m. 2017 [11]

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

References[edit]

  • Boston Phoenix 1997 "OFF The Record" Norman Weinstein [12]
  • The Stranger September 30,1999 James Kirchmer [13]
  • Seattle Weekly September 29,2009 Erik Neumann [14]
  • Bumbershoot 1994 [15]
  • Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2000 [16]
  • Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2000 [17]
  • Bumbershoot 1996
  • Seattle Weekly Reverb Festival 2009 [18]
  • Benaroya Hall - Inside/Out Jazz Awards 2010 [19]
  • Garth Hudson from The Band with Eric Fridrich Band at Cypress Lounge, Bellevue,WA and Upstage,Port Townsend,WA 2011
  • Sidi Touré , Leif Totusek with Atlantic Melody at The Crocodile 2012 [20] [21]
  • Africa Music Summit 2014 [22]
  • Waterfront Blues Festival 2013 [23]
  • Healing the Children Oregon and Western Washington Chapter 2014 [24] [25]
  • Waterfront Blues Festival 2014 [26]
  • Waterfront Blues Festival 2014 [27]
  • Thomas Mapfumo, Leif Totusek with Thione Diop's Afro Groove, Nectar Lounge 2015 [28][29]
  • Boka Kouyate & The Djeliyah Band, Columbia City Theater 2016 [30][31]
  • Leif Totusek at Washington Center for the Performing Arts 2016 [32]
  • Salif Keita - Leif Totusek at Kings Hall 2017 [33]
  • Spirit Of Africa Festival 2017 - Leif Totusek with L'orchestra Afrisound Seattle Center [34]
  • 2017 COLUMBIA CITY THEATER - Leif Totusek with L'orchestra Afrisound A Benefit for the ACLU & The Northwest Immigration Rights Project [35]
  • 2017 Festival Sundiata - Seattle Center Leif Totusek with "Kouyate Arts "Boka Kouyate ~ Djeliyah Band [36]
  • 2017 Broadway Center for the Performing Arts Tacoma,WA Arturo Rodriguez & Leif Totusek

Discography[edit]

  • Freestyle Candela
  • Leif Totusek 1-2-3, Go
  • The Totusek, Butkovic, Iochev Trio
  • The Jamisons, Banshee

External links[edit]


Category:20th-century American guitarists

Category:21st-century American guitarists

Category:American jazz guitarists

Category:Soukous musicians

Category:Jazz fusion guitarists

Category:Post-bop guitarists

Category:American jazz composers

Category:1964 births

Category:Living people

Leif Sebastian Totusek[edit]