Sophie Lukacs is a kora player, singer and composer, born in Budapest, Hungary, and raised in Canada. She grew up surrounded by classical music, studying the violin from when she was 5 years old into her University years.
A trip to Burkina Faso in her early twenties altered the course of her life. She discovered Mandingue music and a magical 21-string instrument—the kora. Not long after, she began lessons, and traveled to Paris for a master class with kora legend Toumani Diabaté. When he invited her to study with him in Bamako, the decision was an easy one: she packed her bags and never looked back.
For six years in Bamako, Sophie did a full immersion in the traditional kora repertoire, as well as the cultural, artistic, and linguistic traditions of Mali. Because the kora is primarily played by men born to griot families, it’s a real acknowledgement of her skills that Lukacs is one of the few women in the world recognized as a kora player. She’s collaborated with some of the best-known Malian musicians, including Habib Koité, who’s also featured on her forthcoming album.
With a unique approach to using the kora, she creates folk music while also paying homage to the kora’s roots with her interpretations of traditional pieces. The melodies and stories she shares are sung in English, French, Bambara and Hungarian.
Sophie is the recipient of several grants (FACTOR, CCA, CALQ, and CAM) and the Stingray Rising Star award (’20). She was a performer at this year’s Mundial Montreal showcase, and at the upcoming Folk Alliance International showcase ’22. Her first album was released in March 2022.
After the success of her first single released last March, Sophie Lukacs is preparing her next album to be released in the fall of 2022 under the label Disques Nuits d’Afrique.