Musician, Composer, Bandleader, Educator


From Timbuktu to the Mississippi Delta

A must read connecting jazz and blues to their African roots in the context of social justice, colonization and slavery.

Guitarist/composer Pascal Bokar is the embodiment of the deep cultural connection between American Jazz and its African musical and spiritual roots.  Born in Paris, raised in Segou, Mali and Dakar, Senegal, and longtime resident of San Francisco, Dr. Bokar has cultivated an impressive array of disciplines that reflect his unique experience: composer, guitarist, vocalist, bandleader, educator and curator of jazz history.

While studying in France in 1981, Pascal connected with the esteemed French saxophonist, Barney Wilen, and for the next two years performed with him in festivals throughout Europe. Moving to the U.S. in 1983, Pascal was blessed to perform with a dazzling array of outstanding musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Haynes, Donald Byrd, and for several years, Donald ‘Duck’ Bailey. His conversations with Diz about re-introducing African rhythms and textures into American jazz and popular music profoundly affected Pascal in his ongoing musical quest.

A professor of Jazz and World Music at the University of San Francisco for nearly a decade, Dr. Bokar began his formal studies at the National Conservatory of Region in Nice, France in 1980. In 1983, he moved to Boston to study at the renowned Berklee College of Music. After performing for many years, he returned to school, earning a Master’s Degree from Cambridge College in 1998. In 2006 he earned his Doctorate Degree in Education from the University of San Francisco and joined the faculty soon after.

Dr. Bokar currently leads two ensembles: The AfroJazz Sextet (guitar, Kora, piano, upright bass, drums and West African percussion) and World Band (guitar, fiddle, banjo and two West African percussionists). Traditional African dancers are available to perform with both ensembles.

He is the author of From Timbuktu to the Mississippi Delta: How West African Standards of Aesthetics Shaped the Music of the Delta Blues.

For more information about Pascal Bokar, please visit


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