Photo by Lorena Pena
At 17, Papa Mali hit the road with his guitar to pursue a career in music. Forty plus years and countless bands later Papa Mali now calls New Orleans home and continues to to be one of the most prolific and influential players and producers in American roots music. It’s hard to cover it all, but he’s played all over the world with Austin-based Killer Bees, 7 Walkers (including Grateful Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann & The Meter’s George Porter Jr.) and various Papa Mali lineups. On top of that, he’s produced records for folks like Lavelle White and Ruthie Foster.
Despite his long list of accolades, what makes Papa Mali so great is that he remains humble and honest to his music. With a musical repertoire that combines elements of soul, blues, swampy Louisiana roots, reggae & folk, Papa Mali’s sound is distinctively his own. Probably the best way to describe his music be the name of his last record, Music is Love (also a wonderful David Crosby track). That being said, Papa Mali’s music is love. You can hear it in every groove, every time he sings, and every note he plays on the guitar.
For now, you can enjoy his visit to Studio 1A in the links below. He had an incredible lineup of Matt Hubbard (keys/vocals), Eldridge Goins (drums/vocals), Brad Houser (bass) to accompany him. So sit back, turn the speakers up, and relax.
— Will Maxwell