Sophie Lukacs | Stingray Rising Stars | Mundial Montréal 2020

By: FrédériqueMon, 11/09/2020
Sophie Lukacs

The world music summit Mundial Montreal is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020. The virtual only 2020 edition will take place on November 23 and 24 and will feature panel sessions, networking opportunities, and ten discovery spotlights with interviews and video clips followed by Q&A sessions.

Stingray has been a proud partner of Mundial Montréal since its very first edition, and we are thrilled to offer a Stingray Rising Stars Prize to Sophie Lukacs. Congratulations!

This year’s finalists were:

About Sophie Lukacs

Sophie Lukacs was born in Budapest, Hungary, and raised in Canada. She grew up surrounded by classical music, studying the violin from a very young age and into her university years. A trip to Burkina Faso in her early twenties radically altered the course of her life. Here, she discovered Mandingue music and the magical instrument, kora. She began taking kora lessons in New York City and, soon after, traveled to Paris for a master class with Grammy-winning kora legend Toumani Diabaté. Upon being invited to Bamako to study with Diabate, Sophie packed her bags and never looked back.

After more than five years fully immersed in the various musical styles and cultural, artistic, and linguistic traditions of Mali and West Africa, Sophie is one of the few women in the world recognized as a kora player. She has shared the stage with some of the best-known Malian musicians, most recently Vieux Farka Touré and Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté.

Sophie’s mastery of the traditional Mandingue repertoire is an impressive feat, but her original work is even more enticing. She uses the kora, and occasionally her violin, to create new melodies, moving effortlessly between English, French, and Bambara. Sophie’s music blends her deep roots in the classical tradition with her unique influences from Hungary and West Africa. She is currently working on her LP in Bamako (forthcoming early 2021).

We sat down with Sophie to tell us more about her win.

What’s your earliest music memory?

Seeing world-renown Hungarian folk music group “Muzsikás” perform at the Ashkenazi music festival in Toronto when I was four and wanting to play the violin as a result. Also, seeing Nathalie McMaster performing at the Cape Breton music festival when I was very young.

Who are your influences?

Sona Jobarteh, the amazing kora player, for breaking the model of the kora only being played by men. Toumani Diabaté and Ali Farka Touré's album In the Heart of the Moon, which made me fall in love with the kora and set me on this journey. My parents, who showed me by example the importance of incredibly disciplined hard work and also having a lot of patience for the craft

What’s your best memory on stage?

Playing a Haydn string quartet at music camp when I was around ten and just having the greatest time in the world!

Who is your favourite musician or band?

Oh, that's a hard question. Habib Koité. Olivier Mtukudzi. The original Beaux Arts Trio playing the Beethoven Piano trios. Queen. Lady Gaga doing anything acoustic.

What’s your favourite genre?

Another hard one... let's say classical (western), Mandingue and Congolese soukous.

What was the best part of Mundial Montreal 2020?

Getting access to speak with lots of industry folks and connecting with other Montreal and Canadian artists.

Congratulations on winning the Stingray Rising Stars award! What do you plan to do with the $2000 prize?

Invest it into my upcoming album. And buy a new microphone for my kora :)


You can listen to the Mundial Montreal vibes channel on Stingray Music.


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