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Shawn Lee

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The Latin-infused sounds of multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lee helped him to become the flagship artist for the Wall of Sound imprint We Love You. Lee relocated twice in pursuit of his music career, first from his hometown of Wichita, Kansas to Los Angeles, where he polished his skills and worked with Jeff Buckley, and then, in 1995, to London, where he eventually joined Wall of Sound to issue a series of singles and his debut album, Monkey Boy, in 2000. The next full-length didn't come until four years later, after Lee had signed to Ubiquity, which released the first of his Studio Sessions series, Music and Rhythm. The series continued with Moods and Grooves in 2005, and Strings and Things in 2006. The music was created to be used in film and television soundtracks, including Desperate Housewives and Malcolm in the Middle. Also in 2006, Soul Visa, which had originally come out in Japan in 2004, was issued in the U.S. In 2007, Voices and Choices, which included a track from labelmate Nino Moschella, hit shelves, followed later by A Very Ping Pong Christmas: Funky Treats, the musician's take on seasonal favorites. The year 2008 saw the release of the musically globetrotting Miles of Styles, along with Clutch of the Tiger, his collaboration with producer Clutchy Hopkins. A second Hopkins collaboration, Fascinating Fingers, appeared in 2009 just before Soul in the Hole, a collaboration between Lee and a number of vocalists, including Darondo, Nicole Willis, Paul Butler, Karime Kendra, and Orgone's Fanny Franklin. Lee kicked off early 2011 with the album World of Funk with the Ping Pong Orchestra. As implied by its title, Lee (with his beats, multiple instruments, and samples) took on the music of the world. World of Funk found him playing everything from sitar to ektar, balaphone, tanpura, kalimba, steel drum, guitarron, Moroccan castanets, cithare, vibraphone, xylophone, bulbul tarang, charango, bouzouki, talking drum, and udu. In addition, he enlisted help from Brazilian vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Curumin, NOMO's Elliot Bergman, and British/Egyptian singer Natacha Atlas, among others. Also in 2011, Lee collaborated with singer/songwriter A.M. for the album Celestial Electric. Tabla Rock, his own exotic song-for-song (and then some) remake of the Incredible Bongo Band's Bongo Rock album, arrived in early 2012 from Ubiquity; this was merely the first entry in what would be a prolific year. Next up was Reel to Reel by his Ping Pong Orchestra in mid-July, followed almost immediately by Synthesizers in Space a few weeks later. In 2013, Lee once again paired with A.M. for the album La Musique Numerique. A year later, he contributed to the KPM library album project KPM: New York Trouble/Electric Progression. Golden Age Against the Machine, a tribute to rap music of the early '80s through the mid-'90s, followed in 2014. ~ Stacia Proefrock & Thom Jurek

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