Pape Armand Boye grew up in the city of Tenguech/Rufisque, Senegal.

Music became the foundation of his survival, and he learned to channel the tumultuousness of life into his art.
Filled with rebellion and fueled by the writings of St. Exupery and Kafka, by the injustice Africa’s heavy history and by “la condition noire,” he left high school in 1985, the year he was due to graduate. At the age of 16 he left his family home and headed, alone, to Dakar.
His adolescence in Dakar was marked by both musical learning and personal struggle. For several years Armand spent his days hungry and his nights unsure of where he would sleep. Music became the foundation of his survival, and he learned to channel the tumultuousness of life into his art. His pain gave birth to a music that would both allow him to express and to feed himself. Hungry for guidance, a thin and tattered Armand knocked on the doors of successful musicians. At times he waited outside their homes for days on end. Sometimes the doors would open and he would receive invaluable advice. But more often, they would remain closed and someone would be sent to chase the young boy away. Unable to afford his own instrument, he depended on the generosity of older musicians who would occasionally let him play on their instruments. It was in this manner that he taught himself the art of music. For years Armand struggled in this manner until at the age of 19 he was booked for his first big show at the exculsive venue Keur Samba. Holding a borrowed bass guitar almost bigger then his own thin frame, he shocked a cynical Dakar audience and from that point on gained a reputation as a sincere and skillful, no- nonsense artist.
Shortly after, Armand joined artistic forces with his brother Badu and founded the group Tama. Using only acoustic guitars and thoughtful compositions and vocal arrangements, Tama’s sound blazed the trail for acoustic music at a time when percussion-based mbaalax music dominated the Senegalese music scene. Tama’s works still play on the radio waves to this day and have earned the group a spot in the musical canon of Senegal as pioneers of folk. Years of success and notoriety were to follow. The group made numerous television appearances on shows such as Khalil Gueye’s “Boulevard en music”, and spent years performing live including at mega concerts such as the 1991 “Anti Apartheid Mega Concert in Dakar”, where the group invigorated the stage in front of an audience of 60,000 with just their acoustic guitars. The Senegalese press fell in love with the group and Tama received critical acclaim: Massamba Mbaye of Le Matin (now director of SEN TV, one of the biggest TV station in Senegal) wrote: "As if a spell was cast, Boye revealed himself to the public at Dakar's Anti-Apartheid Concert, and the show amazed.” Le Soleil’s Mamadou Seye described Armand as: "Alchemist of acoustic music . . . a mixture of jazz, blues, and folk is what creates the foundation for this original sound. Country is also present as well as traditional African percussion . . . The rigor of hard work has given us a music that is to appreciate."
After ten years of success in Senegal, Armand decided to make the leap to bring his sound to other countries. His first stop was Hamburg, Germany, where he collaborated with conservatory violinists and experienced musicians such as Tim Spohn and Tim Grunwald. He toured throughout Germany, France and the Netherlands and further developed a solo style that merged Senegalese sounds and European (particularly British rock) flavors. Years of musical collaboration and of struggles with a new culture, led to both personal and professional growth. In 2007, before leaving Germany to settle in New York, Armand released the album “Xaréba,” recorded in Soundgarden Studios by engineer/producer Chris Rautenkrantz. The album made it to Global Rhythm’s top five world music albums of the year, and was highly praised for its ingenuity and originality: “Communication is at the heart of Boye’s music, and is something he strives to do with authenticity and a strong sense of self in order to better connect with listeners. His masterful guitar and clear voice lead the way through gentle arrangements of violin, cello, bass, marimba, djembe, and other instruments. . . His music—live or recorded—is a sincere, sensitive reflection of both his own life and of the human experience—its joys, but also its inevitable struggles.” (
During his time in Germany, Armand expanded on his knowledge of sound engineering and producing and began to learn more about digital and hardware techniques in music production. In the great Senegalese tradition of adaptation for survival, Armand would over the years become a self-sufficient artist—able to compose, arrange, record, mix, edit and master his own work and those of other artists. In the same way he labored in Dakar to learn music, he worked with Cubase/Atari/DigiDesign and would toil 14-16 hours a day to perfect the craft of music production. He used these skills in 2012 to record, produce, arrange and mix a full-length album, “We Can Win” by Badu Boye. In 2013 he also composed, produced, arranged, recorded and mixed the album, “Between Lines” by Djustpora. With his knowledge and work ethic, Armand has earned the respect of experienced engineers Pascal Volberg(Whitney Houston, Jermaine Dupree): “Armand is an incredibly gifted producer, arranger and musician. He knows all the tricks, has an amazing ear for music, as well as great creative ideas. He'll take the music to it's full potential.” As well as former SONY engineer Chris Theis (Fugees, DMX, Lenny Kravitz): "Of all my relationships in the music business my connection with PapeArmand Boye is one of the most enjoyable. As a talented artist, musician engineer and producer Papecontinues to create some of the most unique and spiritually uplifting songs I have ever encountered."
Since settling in New York, Armand has continued to be an artist of the world. He has collaborated with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel in both the US and Europe, and shared the stage with artists ranging from India Arie to Stevie Wonder. His core band is an eclectic group of highly skilled instrumentalists who embody Armand’s unique style in their diversity. The magic duo of Haitian American drummer Manny Laine (Wyclef, Les Nubians) and Malagasy bassist Patrick Andy (John Scofield, Wyclef Jean ) solidifies the foundation of the music. Mississippi-raised guitarist Clifton Hyde (Blue Man Group) brings a fresh brilliance to Armand’s music. Senegalese percussionist Thiokho Diagne (Angelique Kidjo) ensures that the history and richness of Africa is present at every show. His technique penetrates and makes people reexamine the respect due to the continent. And Senegalese vocalist and Tama master Backa Niang is entrusted with the lofty task of demonstrating the tradition of the Senegalese Talking drum. Together, the group has recently recorded 10 live tracks that are scheduled for a 2015 release.
To witness the power of this live ensemble, one can search “PapeArmand Boye” on YouTube for live footage, or just click here.
Style: African acoustic, folk