The Vale are delighted to welcome back Sefo Kanuteh and to welcome TNT (The Tri Nations Trio) as they explode with creativity at The Vale. Mr Will collaborates with Bruce Ncube (Zimbabwean singer & percussionist) and Sefo Kanuteh (Gambian singer & kora player) to create a new and inspiring programme of music, exploring their cultures & musical traditions and creating a new, unique sound.
Mr Will is a musician of dual heritage based out of Stoke-on-Trent, with over 20 years experience as an international finger-style guitarist, percussionist, composer & teacher.
“A sublime blend of unique musicianship, reaching deep into traditional West and South African music of the ‘Griot’. Ancient musical repertoire meets ‘jazz through the decades’ in this extraordinary gathering of rich creative influences.” – J Winwood, [Nottingham Global Roots Festival]
We are also proud to present Emily & Mambo, returning to the our stage once again with their cross-continent sounds.
Jon Mambo is a guitarist, vocalist, bass player and writer. He got his nickname ‘Mambo’ from earlier years as guitarist in the Manchester based Afro-Latin Jazz ensemble ” The Mambo’s”. His focus right now is on Brazilian and African style music played on the acoustic guitar and electric bass, and delving into the rhythmic and percussive foundations of the music.
Emily is a singer from Manchester whose powerful voice has sung in many different genres from classical to funk. From an early age she trained as a Soprano and at the age of 18 was asked by the famous ‘Iain Mellor’ to sing a Brazilian song with the then Brazilian Percussion collective Cabasa and the Northern Chamber Orchestra. Since this introduction, Emily has been hooked singing songs from all over Brasil for large percussion outfits. Emily has enjoyed belting songs over 40+ drummers over the years and is now enjoying a more laid back approach as a duo!
Together they form Emily & Mambo, a dynamic duo whose music crosses genres, languages and styles. Their repertoire includes covers of infamous and underground tunes all sung in poetic Portuguese.
Tri Nations Trio – Artist’s Biographies
Born to an English father and Filipino mother, Will is loved and respected on more than one continent for his stage persona “Mr Will”. Will first picked up a guitar at the age of eight – already understanding there was a world of music beyond MTV and Radio 1. Over the last 20 years, Will has inspired the young people & communities of Stoke-on-Trent & North Staffordshire as founder-director of Planet Sound Community Arts, MD of Unity Foundation & artistic director of MADULA young people’s organsation.
Mr Will’s eclectic and playful approach to composition and performance has developed as a result of studying with elder of Congolese guitarist Lokassa Y Mbongo in Boston, as well as artists from Mali, Guinea and South Africa, and legends of fingerstyle Tuck Andress and Martin Taylor.
Mr Will has travelled the world and performed at many top UK venues including WOMAD, Latitude, DrumCamp UK, Symphony Hall, Newcastle Jazz Festival & Lancaster Jazz festival – performing internationally in Senegal, Gambia, Philippines and headlining at the Bayimba Festival, Uganda.
In 2016 Mr Will became guitarist & musical director of the Seby Ntege Band and produced the album “Five Notes” that toured throughout 2018. The album featured two of Will’s own songs, with his track “Sing for the Moment” named as BBC Radio 3 track of the week.
In 2019, having received support from Arts Council England, Mr Will com
posed a series of collaborations with ten different international artists, now available via his YouTube channel, with tutorials and additional material available for free to all aspiring guitarists.
Mr Will has just completed touring as guitarist with the Sefo Kanuteh 2021 UK Tour and now looks forward to launching TNT – another exciting phase in the exploration of fingerstyle guitar, community music & international collaboration.
Bruce Ncube is an international musician from Zimbabwe, now living in the UK. Bruce has performed all over the world and headlined with performers such as Anna Mudeke. Bruce is also an experienced teacher, choir leader and cultural ambassador, specialising in teaching harmonies & songs from his native Zimbabwean Culture. He runs workshops with community choirs, singing groups and schools, in festivals and universities across the UK. Bruce’s approach is very inclusive and participatory, building people’s confidence in singing to create beautiful harmonies. The songs he shares are emotionally charged and uplifting.
Sefo Kanuteh is a virtuosic, soulful and authentic Kora and Balafon player from The Gambia. Having worked closely on major projects with artists such as renowned Senegalese guitarist/vocalist Baaba Maal and The BKO Quintet, Sefo’s drive to recreate the warmth of his home community in the UK is shown through his inspiring audience engagement during performances, as well as his various workshops throughout Europe which share the beauty of Gambian culture. Sefo released two albums and a music video in 2021 and has just completed a UK Tour, which had to be postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic, with Mr Will featuring on guitar.
The project has been funded by Arts Council England and will move through a creative phase where the trio share & compose material. The TNT project will work with a different community music group in each place to create a new piece, which will open the TNT showcase performance in that city.
Please note: This is a 14s and over only event. Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult 18+.
This project has been made possible due to generous funding from Arts Council England.