Professional Saxophonist and Clarinettist specializing in the folk/world music scene in London.
John studied on the prestigious BA Jazz course at Leeds College of Music (2010), and recently graduated from the MA Music Performance course at SOAS (2017) with distinction.
Having played with many leading ensembles and musicians including; Guinean Griot Mosi Conde, Nigerian Afrojazz band 'Ayetoro', Croatian Big Band 'Mimika', and Israeli Bass player Daphna Sadeh, John has also worked in theatre (the London Bubble, Nick Cassenbaum, Viva Productions), and done various sessions for TV and film (Bleach Productions, BMG).
Over recent years John has focused his energies on Klezmer and Balkan music. Having studied with leading musicians including Merlin Shepherd, Susi Evans, Ilene Stahl and Nikola Iliev, he co-founded award-winning klezmer ensemble 'Oysland' (World Music Network, Battle of the Bands, 2017), plays traditional Bulgarian/Macedonian music with 'Raka', and directed the SOAS klezmer band from 2015-2019.
'Barnstorming alto sax'
Ian Mann, thejazzmann.com, London Jazz Festival, 2015
'Top-notch, next-generation Klezmer'
DJ Ritu, A World in London, Resonance FM
Award-winning group Oysland celebrate the multiculturalism of modern-day London by honouring the influence other cultures have had on the secular Ashkenazi musical tradition. With “compelling depth and authenticity” (DJ Ritu, Resonance FM) they re-imagine music from times past, exploring the connections between Klezmer and other co-territorial traditions.
Oysland explore the role this union has played in shaping Yiddish musical identity. Drawing on the Polish and Slovakian roots of its band members they delve into century-old lullabies, exuberant wedding dances and peculiar hay-making stories.
As equally adept at sharing soulful and intimate songs with an audience as they are at providing the music for a lively dance party, Oysland never fail to take audiences on a journey.
*Oysland are winners of the World Music Network Battle of the Bands Winner 2017*
Raka play traditional music from the Balkans. We take our name after a traditional Bulgarian dance the ‘Raka,’ full of leg kicks, clicking heels and hands held high, the unmistakable groove of a ‘Raka‘ brings everyone to their feet. Our music has a strong focus in the folk traditions of Bulgaria and Macedonia, as well as the Romani music that span far and wide across the Balkans. Our meandering musical tributaries have all led us to one communal river: the love and commitment to understanding and interacting with the music of the Balkans. We do not play ‘fusion music’, and neither do we imitate. We bring to life a genuinely authentic repertoire wherever we are, from sweaty back rooms of North London clubs to concert halls on the banks of the Thames. We took the dance for our name as that’s what we love to do. A heart rending lament can move the body as much as a pounding Bulgarian Pravo, and in Raka we have made space for both, and everything in between.
"Absolutely magnificent, no one can sit still listening to Raka!"
DJ Ritu, A World in London - Resonance FM
Mimika is an alternative jazz, world & art music orchestra from London, formed of 20 of London’s most sought after musicians, performing original music by Croation composer Mak Murtic.
Dubbed as one of London’s most creative, trans-idiomatic orchestras, taking audiences on an adventurous journey's where jazz collides with other musical genres and art forms, telling anthropological, cultural and mythological stories of the future and the past.
'What Mimika are doing is really unique, it’s music that stands out'
-Musicdeli, 2016 (arts blog)