TEA is the production team of guitarist Franck Balloffet, from Lyon, France, and Southern California drummer-keyboardist Phil Bunch. They are the producers of “Voyages du Jour,” which enlists some of the finest African musicians in Los Angeles for the first TEA collection, a mixture of French and African Pop.
The duo’s CD production includes Congolese vocalist Steve Ngondo (previously with Tabu Le Rochereau), Marcel Adjibi, vocalist and percussionist from Benin (Manu Dibango), Amadu Sabali from Senegal, and American multi-lingual vocalist Chana (Tambu International Ensemble). Nigeria’s Remi Kabaka is also featured. Kabaka was the guest percussionist on the Rolling Stones’ Winter 2002 West Coast tour, and previously the only African musician on Paul McCartney’s “Band On The Run” album.
Also in TEA’s sound collaboration is Cameroonian bassist André Manga (Narada Records), originally music director of Manu Dibango’s (“Soul Makosa”) band and currently with Josh Groban and Angelique Kidjo. EMI studio musician Louis Wasson from Cameroon on guitar and David Philipson (Bratcha, Wadada Leo Smith) on bansuri are also part of TEA’s musical family.
Music reviewers and radio DJs have given praise of TEA’s first musical and melodic collection:
“TEA offers a bracing brew of boss nouveau, French and Afro-pop, refreshing as a sweet summer evening breeze washing over lovers in moonlight. It’s the perfect party music for the 21st hipoisie.”
-- Roger Steffens, “The Beat”
“The staid album cover -- with a photo of a teabag featured on the CD booklet -- gives no indication of the unique African-laced, chill-flavored cosmopolitan music that lies within. Or the fascinating history of the project’s two chief masterminds. Tunes range from the jungly, heavily African chant- and chill-flavored “Azan Nawa” to the more synthesized Euro-funk and grooves of “Adjegule” and “Heroes of the Sea,” a hypnotic dance-chill track with a touch of rolling blues swirled with African guitars. The fascinating hybrid is seriously hard to resist.”
-- Jonathan Widran, “All Music Guide"