The Artists

Ashnaa Sasikaran
Ashnaa Sasikaran

My name is Ashnaa and I am from Milton Keynes.
 
I started my Carnatic vocal training at the age of under the tutelage of Sri Vamshikrishna Vishnudas. I am also currently a student at Nottingham University where I am studying Physics.
 
Being a scientist the connection I find between science and music is quite profound. The patterns we look for in scientific discovery can be very similar to what I find myself exploring when I am in the depths of practising and performing live.
 
I am inspired by all kinds of music, from the Carnatic masters of India to modern pop and R&B. All of these elements influence my music.l

Jon Rattenbury
Jon Rattenbury

I’m Jonathan Rattenbury and I’m from Crystal Palace, London.

My first experience of music was in church from a young age. From 7, I started to learn brass instruments and regularly played in the brass band and sang in the choir at church from 7-14. I then studied music at GCSE and A-level and progressed to studying music at Goldsmiths university in London. I then joined The London Community Gospel Choir and toured the world with them, learning so many valuable musical and life lessons along the way.
 
Music has always been part of my life and I have seen many communities united through music. I love the feeling of many voices or instruments coming together to create something powerful and moving.
 
I have always been inspired by Kirk Franklin, I love his songwriting and the way he performs. I have always loved Stevie Wonder, Freddie Mercury and Whitney Houston for not only their incredible voices, but also their abilities to capture any audience with their unique performances

Aadya Rajwanshi
Aadya Rajwanshi

I am Aadya, I am 10 years old and I am from Bromley, London

I started singing at the age of 2 but started professional training at the age of 7. I’ve learnt from a number of teachers but most of things I am capable of doing is because of my teacher Mr. Farooq Khan.
 
Everything around me looks and sound musical to me. I find patterns and sargams from any sound that I hear and also I love song writing. Whenever I am singing or practicing or making music, I completely forget about time and space and just try to enjoy it
 
My biggest inspiration is AR Rahman. I want to create my own kind of music just like him.

Tom Beech
Tom Beech

My name is Tom Beech and I’m a professional musician and Musical Director originally from Staffordshire and now living in South London.
 
I started playing piano at the age of 4, as my Mom was an incredible musician, I had always been around it since I can remember. From there I took to learning as many instruments as I could and worked up to Grade 8 in Piano, Guitar and Drums. I studied Music Technology and Popular Music Performance at the London College Of Music, and then went on to further my career working on cruise ships and in hotels for many years as Musical Director. 
 
Music to me is a discipline and a practice that has taught me so much over the years. It’s taught me focus, it’s taught me patience. It allows a group of strangers who have never met before to create something so incredibly special in one specific moment.
 
I have many inspirations when it comes to music. I’m an avid lover of classical music; Chopin, Mahler and Prokofiev are some of my main influences and inspirations when composing or playing classical music. They’re the masters.
In (slightly more) contemporary music, my heroes are Aretha Franklin, Foy Vance, Elton John, John Martyn, the list really does go on! I could be here for days!

Shri Gadhvi
Shri Gadhvi

My name is Shri and I live in Hertfordshire.
 
I started playing tabla at the age of 2 and became the disciple of Pandit Sharda Sahai at the age of 5. From the age of 16 I have had amazing opportunities to perform all over the world at some of the most prestigious venues across Europe, Asia and the US.
 
For me music is life. When I am practising it becomes a form of meditation where I really explore myself and my music. And when I perform, I try to pay homage to the great masters who have preserved the legacy of this beautiful instrument. Music is about bring people together and letting them rejoice in the creativity.
 
First and foremost, my biggest inspirations have been my mum and dad. Beyond that the great Ustad Zakir Hussein who has reached heights playing the tabla that I can only dream of. I also have a lot of respect for Talvin Singh who popularised Indian classical sounds through the underground music that he created. Lastly the vocalist Hariharan who’s unique style underpins a lot of my creativity.

Maddie Cutter
Maddie Cutter

My name is Maddie Cutter and I’m from West Sussex, near Brighton
 
I started playing the cello at the age of 7 but only really took it seriously when I was around 15, after I started going to junior music conservatoire in London on Saturdays. I did my undergraduate at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama which I graduated from in 2016, and since then I’ve found I’ve learnt so much just from being a working musician.
 
I find that the only time my mind is truly still and completely focused is when I’m performing; it’s this mixture of heightened concentration, muscle memory, and communication from deep within. I love that feeling of stillness combined with a quiet energy that I get when I play the cello.
 
I really admire Björk because she has absolutely no boundaries in her music. Her style is completely unique and she has had such a long career of high quality work which is still morphing and progressing today.

Mehboob Nadeem
Mehboob Nadeem

My name is Mehboob and I am currently based in Harrow in North West London.

I began learning the sitar at the age of 10 under the pupillage of my uncle Ustad Rafat Khan and then after some years I became and remain a student of Pandit Arvind Parekh. I belong to the 15th generation of the Agra gharana and both of my grandfathers, Ustad Vilayat Hussein Khan and Ustad Azmat Hussein Khan, were highly regarded vocalists.

Whilst my musical upbringing was very traditional and I was raised only being exposed to Indian music, by moving to the UK I was exposed to flamenco and African music and became entranced by the ragas. I deeply believe you can synchronise your own music with music from other traditions and have a deep enjoyment and this in turn has made me a better musician with a more open mind.
 
My biggest inspirations remain my guru, my father and my grandparents. Further afield I idolise Ustad Vilayat Khan as well as Pandit Ravi Shankar who were both great pioneers of the sitar. Due to my recent collaborations I am starting to listen increasingly to western classical and I have a soft spot for Eric Clapton too.

Michael Redfern
Michael Redfern

My name is Michael Redfern and I am a freelance guitarist currently residing in London.
 
I started playing guitar at age 12 and eventually ended up studying Music at the University of Manchester and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I completed the Guildhall Jazz Masters program in 2016 and have gone on to forge a career as a freelance guitarist in London’s contemporary music scene.
 
Playing music gives me a sense of identity and feeling of connection to those around me, whether it’s fellow musicians or audience members. As a craft it has taught me patience and persistence as I pursue my long term creative goals.
 
I have a pretty big list of musical influences so here are a few choice favourites: Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Pat Metheny, Led Zeppelin, Mike Landau, Donnie Hathaway. Just recently I’ve been obsessed with the music of virtuoso mandolin player/songwriter Chris Thile. He writes beautiful, unique music with his bluegrass band ‘Punch Brothers’ and has recently made a duo album with Jazz pianist Brad Meldau which is incredible.

Robin Christian
Robin Christian

My name is Robin and I am currently based in East London
 
I started playing the bansuri at the age of 15 in Nadiad in India. My first teacher who gave me my foundation was Nirav Thakar and then I became a disciple of Pandit Ronu Majumdar in Mumbai. After moving to the UK in the early 2000s, my development became one of self-discovery and I continue to try and learn from all of the great musicians I am exposed to.
 
My lifestyle is quite spiritual – every time I perform I feel a connection with spiritual energy and am overcome by this. Whatever I play whenever I play it is a reflection of my spirituality at that point in time.
 
In addition to my gurus I am also hugely influenced by Vijay Thape who is AR Rahman’s bansuri player and also the gujarati music arrange Edwin Vaz.

Neil Davey
Neil Davey

My name is Neil Davey and I’ve been working as a professional musician since I was 16 years old!
 
I was very fortunate to grow up in a family who all enjoyed both listening to and taking part in music! My late father was a professional bassist and Used to have music playing throughout the house when I grew up! Like Tom, I, for some unknown reason, could play the drums at 4 years old!! Although I never had any drum lessons growing up, I did learn the double bass at school and belonged to an amateur orchestra from 7 years old in the choir! Fast forward a few years, and I got a place at the ACM music college in Guildford. I left my course after a year, and started working on cruise ships, both as the drummer in the onboard orchestra, and eventually as the musical director.
 
I feel that music, to me, is such a beautiful thing to be involved in at any level. When you play a piece right, the feeling you get is incomparable to anything!
 
I have an interest in many types of music!! I can happily listen to a Capella vocal groups, and then quickly switch to listening to Earth Wind and Fire, or System of a Down! I feel like you should never limit yourself to one genre!!

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