topu lyo

composer producer artist cellist

universe in verse
american artist
jacob jonas dance company

Topu Lyo

i’m a documentor.

Live Footage

i met mike at my birthday/halloween party more than 15 years ago. we immediately clicked speaking about music and i was blown away by our similar taste in esoteric music. i was scoring a modern dance piece called ‘freedom happening’ and asked him to play drums. from there we co-wrote the score and started our group. we bonded through improvisation which is present in all of our albums minus the first two. we improvise all our albums and produce them out.  some of our more modern stuff is through composed and the instrumentation has changed. what began as cello and drums has evolved into compositions using woodwinds, cello quartets. we’ve toured europe many times. we’ve opened for nils frahm. we’ve toured in asia. we’ve opened for robert glasper and pharoah monch. childish gambino used one of our samples on a track. we’ve scored tons of commercials. we’ve won a NAACP image award. we’ll be dropping an album w grammy nominated j.ivy soon. we most recently did the music to the kanye west trilogy ‘jeen-yuhs’ on netflix.

Salenta + Topu

i met salenta at malik abdul-rahmaan’s apt in 2019. i was doing some cello on a track he was working on. during a break salenta, myself and a new friend moki stepped outside to smoke a spliff. moki taught us how to reverse roll a joint and salenta told us that she was gonna take off the ‘selecta’ from her dj name which was ‘salenta the selecta’. during the hang she said she mostly dj’d but wanted to get back to playing and jamming more. i suggested we jam sometime. our first jam came a few months later at her friend kathy’s studio in bushwick. we recorded our improvisation and upon listening to it realized that there was something special there. this was the beginning of our album moon set, moon rise.


released February 5, 2021

Salenta Baisden - Piano
Topu Lyo - Cello
Mixed by Salenta and Topu
Mastering Engineer - Nolan Thies
Artwork by Nadia Wescott
Design and Layout by Tori Huang

all songs written by Salenta and Topu
Moon Set, Moon Rise

New Indiana

i met randy back in 1999 in tucson az. i was a freshman in college and he had just recently graduated. we started a band called dali’s trio which was a mix of gypsy kings and bela fleck in my mind. in reality it probably was nothing similar. the songs were earthy tunes with long instrumental improvisations. this really began my songwriting and improvisation mind set to which i carry this day. our relationship and music has ever been evolving. together we’ve self taught ourselves how to play: jazz, bossa nova, choro’s, gypsy jazz and transcribed hundreds of tunes that we’ve recorded. we’ve learned so much from our many projects and co-writing, producing through the years. this is a life long project.