Louka Patenaude, a veteran of the Madison music scene, is a performing guitarist, teacher, recording studio artist, songwriter and composer. As a professional teacher, his career goes back almost 20 years. He has appeared on many recordings and has toured throughout the Midwest, Europe and Pacific Asia.
While studying anthropology at UW-Madison (B.S., 2000), Patenaude studied guitar and music theory with Roger Brotherhood and jazz performance in Professor Richard Davis’s Black Music Ensemble. During this time he began teaching and performing professionally with many of Madison’s best jazz artists. He is currently a faculty member of Madison Music Makers, which provides music instruction to low-income students.
Since 2002, he has performed on guitar with jazz artist and historian Ben Sidran and his group, including four residencies at the Cafe Central in Madrid, the Montreal Jazz Fest in 2010 and an annual summer-long performance in Madison. He also appears on the CD releases, Nick’s Bump (2004) and Cien Noches (2008), which featured Patenaude’s composition, “A Room in the Desert.”
He has performed on stage with many notable jazz artists including Tony Monaco, Richard Davis, Bob Rockwell, Billy Peterson, Richie Cole, Gege Telesforo, Bob Malach, Manty Ellis, as well as many Madison and Milwaukee jazz musicians, including Paul Hastil, Leo Sidran, Amelia Royko, Dane Richeson, Rodrigo Villanueva, Nick Moran, Michael Brenneis, Dave Stoler, Devin Drobka, John Christensen, Dave Bayles, Jeff Hamann, Tony Barba, and many others.
As a bandleader, songwriter, and producer he released The Optimistic (2006 on Layered) and The Very Best of The Fingers (2012 on Layered). Patenaude played with the widely known reggae group, Natty Nation, with whom he toured throughout the Midwest, Japan, Guam and the Marshall Islands. His sound is also featured their releases, Reincarnation (2008), Live at the UW Terrace (2013), Suffice (2010), and their newest release, Divine Spark (2016).
His music serves as the soundtrack to the television series, Tasty Guide to a Healthy Planet by David Haldiman and Amelia Royko. As a studio guitarist, Louka’s credits include Hal Leonard Signature Licks Roy Buchanon (2014), Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life (2015) and the Grateful Dead (2015).
In Madison, Patenaude is a sought-after guitarist. His scope includes many contemporary styles such as rock, reggae, country and Afro Latin styles.
Patenaude plays with Tony Castaneda’s award-winning Latin Jazz Band and helped to found the New Breed Jazz Jam, the longest running jazz jam session in Madison.
In 2006, he performed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra under conductor John DeMain, and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra under conductor Andrew Sewell.
In 2009 and 2012, Patenaude won Madison Area Music Awards for Best Instrumentalist in the guitarist category.