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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Stunning New Release by John Aram Featuring Singer-Songwriter and Cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson

‘Flow My Tears’ is a project by John Aram featuring the mesmerizing cellist and vocalist Ayanna Witter-Johnson, the collaboration has produced an exciting cover of an old 16th Century song by English composer John Dowland. And the incredible Henrique Vilao, Luis Ales and Tiago Damas have created an amazing video for the project.

Singer, songwriter, cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a rare exception to the rule that classical and alternative R&B music cannot successfully co-exist.

Graduating with a first from both Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Manhattan School of Music, Ayanna was a participant in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composers Scheme and became an Emerging Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre. She was a featured artist with Courtney Pine’s Afropeans: Jazz Warriors and became the only non-American to win Amateur Night Live at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NYC.

As a composer she has been commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Güerzenich Orchester, Ligeti Quartet, Kronos Quartet, The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company and as an arranger/orchestrator for the London Symphony Orchestra (Hugh Masekela, Belief!) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Urban Classic).

Since releasing her EP’s (‘Truthfully’, ‘Black Panther’ & ‘Ella, Reuben & Ay’) and her debut album ‘Road Runner’ via her own record label (Hill and Gully Records) working with producers Marc Mac (4Hero), James Yarde (Terri Walker, Jamelia, Eric Benet) and featuring artists including pianist Robert Mitchell and rapper Akala. Ayanna has collaborated with several artists including Anoushka Shankar and Nitin Sawhney, extensively toured the UK and several countries in Europe, whilst gaining a MOBO nomination, receiving airplay on stations including BBC Radio 1, 1xtra, 2, 3, 4, 6, BBC London, BBC Manchester, Jazz FM and Scala Radio, TV features on BBC One London News and London Live and producing three commercial music videos via her YouTube channel.

A performer of extraordinary versatility her live shows are intimate journeys that chronicle her experience as a female artist in the 21st century. Because of her musical prowess, mesmerizing vocals, non-compromising lyrics and ability to deftly reinterpret songs on the cello, Ayanna is able to straddle both the classical and urban worlds effortlessly. She is the definition of eclectic soul.

Currently working on her sophomore album Ayanna has recently appeared on Channel 4 (Sing It Loud) and Later…with Jools Holland (BBC1) and is preparing to return to the live arena whilst working on a number of commissions for ensembles and orchestras in UK and Europe.

John Aram was born in Nottingham, England, in 1962. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and after graduating worked freelance with many of Britain’s leading orchestras. He has done numerous recordings for television and radio including collaborations for Columbia Pictures.

John has collaborated with many important jazz artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Jason Rebello, Guy Barker, Daniel Humair, Tom Cawley and many more. For several years now, he has been writing, arranging and playing with Phil Collins as well as collaborations with the Funk Brothers and Daryl Stuermer. He has received 5 star reviews in Jazzwise for his composition Saturday Night And Sunday Morning.

John has performed throughout Europe and the USA as a sideman and with his own quintet that features Graeme Blevins, Tom Cawley, Phil Donkin and Arthur Hnatek (The John Aram Quintet). He is currently co-leading The United Underground Orchestra with Tim Garland.

John has lived in Geneva, Switzerland, since 1996 and has written and directed works for the Swiss Jazz Orchestra, commissions for Swiss institutions and works as a horn arranger for many artists in Europe. He became well known for his direction of Ellington’s big band music and has run workshops and seminars as well as conducting many concerts of these works. He is a firm believer in music education and continues to teach at the International School of Geneva. He has a masters degree in Arts Management and an LRAM, and GRSM (horns) from the Royal Academy of Music London.




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