I’m a vocal improviser; and solo and in collaboration with other singers and instrumentalists I perform, teach and record internationally, and I’m beginning to use improvisation as a source of composition. (Listen)
Always a singer, I felt unmet by the music education I received as a youngster, and by my mid teens concluded that I wasn’t a musician, even though I was lead singer of the band that did end-of-term gigs to 1000 celebrating students.
Over the next 10-15 years I was the lead singer of various bands, a solo singer songwriter and a session singer. Yet my musicianship didn’t really begin to come into its own until I discovered Indian Classical Music which places improvisation and the sacred at the heart of musicianship; and Shona music from Zimbabwe which shares these values while adding community and ritual.
I studied for months with Atul Upadhye in India and then (Zimbabwean) Shona teacher Chartwell Dutiro, followed by two years with David Eskenazy who teaches jazz theory for vocal improvisers in France. Then, a short stint with Bobby McFerrin in New York led to two years as student and apprentice to Rhiannon in California; she’s an incredible solo and collaborative vocal improviser in the contemporary American tradition – which she is a major shaper of.
(Incredibly, support and grant funding came from many directions very serendipitously to enable this travel and study. I’m not a trustifarian.)
Weaving between these paths I bring these practices home to the UK, while I myself continue to learn, and apply these practices to performance, ritual, and being a human being. I’m now working to integrate vocal and piano improvisation, and studying with incredible U.S. pianists Frank Martin and Julie Wolf. I love this deeply!