Arts & Culture

Celebrated Guitarists Raul Midón, Lionel Loueke Close Out Singletary Signature Series

Watch Midón and Lueke perform "My One and Only Love" at Paste Studios.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 19, 2020) — The University of Kentucky’s Singletary Center for the Arts will present celebrated guitarists Raul Midón and Lionel Loueke in the final concert of the 2019-20 Singletary Signature Series, celebrating the center’s 40th anniversary. These internationally renowned musicians will perform 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, in the Singletary Center Recital Hall.

Raul Midón first began his career as a sideman singer and guitarist for artists like Shakira, Jason Mraz, Julio Iglesias and Jose Feliciano. Stepping out into his own work, Midón released his first album, titled "Gracias a la vida," in 1999. He has since released nine more studio albums as a solo artist. Midón has worked to develop a home studio that would allow him to be the sound engineer on his own albums, despite being completely blind. He has received two Grammy nominations for Best Vocal Jazz Album for his 2017 release, "Bad Ass and Blind," and his 2018 release, "If You Really Want."

Determined to defy his financial circumstance, Lionel Loueke began pursuing music as a percussionist at age 9 and began guitar as a teenager. Originally from the West African Republic of Benin, Loueke was passionate in his studies, attending four different institutions including the American School of Music in Paris and Berklee College of Music. In his professional career, Loueke has released 11 albums as a bandleader and over 30 as a sideman. Paul Simon raves that Loueke is "one of a rare handful of guitarists that move effortlessly between his West African roots and modern American jazz," and Sting cites Loueke as "one the most original, essential and inspiring musicians on our planet today.” Loueke has been a Blue Note recording artist and member of Herbie Hancock's band for the past 10 years. Praised by Hancock as “a musical painter,” Loueke combines harmonic complexity, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African folk forms, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own.

Tickets for the Raul Midón and Lionel Loueke concert are $18 plus processing fees. Seating is reserved. UK students may claim one free advance ticket with their student ID at the Singletary Center ticket office up through the day before the concert. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 859-257-4929, online at or by visiting the Singletary Center ticket office.

A part of the College of Fine Arts and essential to the UK School of Music, the Singletary Center for the Arts presents and hosts artistic, cultural and educational events for the university community, Lexington community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Named on April 16, 1987, for the retiring eighth president of the university, the center has become a major cultural resource for the Commonwealth. From its opening on Nov. 1, 1979, the center has accomplished Singletary's wish to provide a succession of brilliant performances in its Concert and Recital Halls, which constitute impressive evidence of the University of Kentucky's continuing commitment to the arts. Hosting an average of 400 events annually, the Singletary Center has served over 3.7 million patrons in its history. The center provides professional, full-service venues for the creation, practical application, and dissemination of artistic, cultural and educational expressions by international, national, regional, university, and student performers, artists, and speakers.

photo of Raul Midon and Lionel Lueke with their guitars seated on bench

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.