Booka Michel is a musician and producer from Austin, Texas. Over the last forty years, his skills as a percussionist have graced over 30 albums and countless performances by Austin artists in the blues, jazz, rock, singer-songwriter, roots, country and progressive music scenes.
He has produced or co-produced more than a dozen albums by a variety of artists, and has appeared at numerous festivals and venues across North America as well as on Austin City Limits and the popular “Live Set” radio show on Austin’s KUT-FM.
He has performed with Townes Van Zandt, Arthur Brown, Doug Sahm, Butch Hancock, David Amram, Flaco Jimenez, Hoyt Axton, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Odetta, Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Don Walser, Jimmie Carl Black, Jesse Taylor, Mike Kindred, Smokey Joe Miller, John X. Reed, Ponty Bone, D-Day, David Halley, David Rodriguez, Walter Hyatt, Champ Hood, and Tomas Ramirez among others.
Over the years, Michel’s combination of musical gifts and business acumen led him to open River City Rehearsal, a key element in the regeneration of Austin’s now thriving downtown Warehouse District. His social concerns prompted him to produce and coordinate “When The Music Stops,” an annual concert event benefiting victims of violent crime that has won a number of public service awards including the 1993 People Against Violent Crime Award, 1994 Governor’s Award, 1995 Texas Department of Criminal Justice Award and 1996 Presidential Award.
Since 2000 he has been producing award-winning albums, with Songs and Albums of the Year in Canada, Australia, Europe and the U.S. in the Blues, Folk, World Music and Americana categories.
Under his label Loudhouse Records, he has released acclaimed albums by Mike Kindred, Ponty Bone, David Olney, RC Banks, Paul Metsa, and his own Booka and the Flaming Geckos. The Geckos are longtime Austin musicians John X. Reed (Doug Sahm, Jimmy Dale Gilmore), Cindy Cashdollar (Bob Dylan, Van Morrison) and Glen Fukunaga (Joe Ely, The Dixie Chicks), and their latest releases are the motion picture soundtrack albums Baghdad, Texas and The Not So Meaningful Songs in the Life of Jeremy Fink. The latter was written for the film Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life starring Mira Sorvino and Joe Pantoliano, based on a book by Wendy Mass, and was nominated in the 2012 Independent Music Awards for Best Instrumental Album of the Year and Best Song for Film / TV, and the track “Rubber Chicken Rag” was a finalist for Best Original Song by the 9th Annual International Acoustic Music Awards 2012.
Booka has also produced four feature films, his latest being Baghdad, TX and the award-winning short subject Native New Yorker. He’s also a voting member of the Director’s Guild of America and the Recording Academy (Grammy’s).
When he’s not making music or producing films, Booka can usually be found working at Rancho Pancho, his pecan grove in Hunt, Texas. Listen to an interview with Booka on KAXE. Read about Booka’s inclusion in the 2015 edition of Trademark Who’s Who.