Papa Mali (born Malcolm Helm Welbourne in Vicksburg, Mississippi, May 6, 1957) is a New Orleans based, American singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer. Currently, Papa Mali is collaborating with the New Orleans supergroup The M&M’s made up of Robert Mercurio & Stanton Moore of Galactic, and John Medeski of Medeski Martin and Wood.
He has been a touring musician and recording artist for decades. Yet, he is probably best known as the front man for 7 Walkers, a band formed in 2009 that includes three musical icons: Grateful Dead founding member and drummer Bill Kreutzmann, The Meters’ founding bassist, George Porter Jr. and lyricist Robert Hunter, co-writes much of 7 Walkers material with Welbourne. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist , Matt Hubbard completes the line up. Their self-titled debut was released to critical acclaim in November of 2010.
Papa Mali is also known for his own live performances and recorded output, most notably his two albums for Fog City Records (2000′s Thunder Chicken and 2007′s Do Your Thing) produced by Dan Prothero and featuring some of New Orleans’ most legendary musicians. His work as a producer includes 7 Walkers (Response, 2010), The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster (Blue Corn, 2007) and records by Lavelle White, Omar and the Howlers, Wendy Colonna, The Greyhounds and others.