Born in Paris, France and raised in Mali and Senegal, West Africa, Pascal Bokar had a chance growing up to hear the musical, harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, dance and spoken words traditions of West African music and culture that informed his heritage through the musical legacies of instruments such as the Ngoni (banjo) or balafon (ancestor of xylophone) which will later define the early cultural and musical foundations of the American South through the migrations of West Africans through the Atlantic Slave Trade (1550-1888). “As a musician, I have always tried to synthesize the convergence of African esthetics and appreciate their influence in the music of the African American communities of the American South, from the rural sounds of the Blues and Gospel into this music we call Jazz.”
Pascal Bokar studied at the National School of Arts in Dakar, Senegal and at the National Conservatory of Nice, France where he started working professionally with reedman Barney Wilen. In 1983, Pascal attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA USA where he received the Jim Hall Jazz Master Award for Guitarists. He performed with Jazz Greats Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd, Donald Bailey, Donald Brown etc…he is the recipient of the Outstanding Jazz Soloist Award presented by Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody. In 1999, he received his Master’s Degree from Cambridge College, Massachusetts, USA and in 2006 received his Doctoral Degree Summa Cum Laude from the Graduate School of Education of the University of San Francisco, CA USA. Pascal Bokar previous recording "Guitar Balafonics" was selected by Downbeat Magazine as one of the “Best CDs of 2015.”and received a 4 star review. Pascal Bokar is listed in Jazz journalist Scott Yanov’s Book entitled "Great Jazz Guitars" published by Hal Leonard.
Pascal Bokar has been a headliner at more than 50 Jazz festivals nationwide and has performed in Europe and Japan.