It is rare to come across a talent like Ayanna Witter Johnson, this cellist, vocalist, pianist and composer is in a league of her own and truly embodies the mystery and beauty of a muse.She is a pioneer of Black folk music and is the first non-American to win the legendary Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem – and one of only a handful of people to win with an original composition.Working with Ayanna was a truly lucid experience infused with ease and creative synergy.
Continually developing as a musician and composer of extraordinary versatility, Witter-Johnson made her debut at the London Jazz Festival in 2008 opening for Intercontinental – the project that features jazz drumming legend Jack DeJohnette and the Queen of South African jazz Sibongile Khumalo and in 2009 she continued, to much acclaim, her association as vocalist, cellist and featured artist with Courtney Pine’s Afropeans: Jazz Warriors. In 2010, her new trio featuring Fraser Fifield on pipes, whistles and saxophone and Robert Mitchell on piano and made it’s debut at Dartington and toured the UK during the summer and in 2011 she has been commissioned by Bath Festival to create a new work in response to the work of the legendary singer, songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone.
Her radio credits include original material on Courtney Pine’s Jazz Crusade – BBC Radio 3, In Tune – BBC Radio 2 and the BBC Asian Network. Witter-Johnson was also invited to feature as a cellist and musical arranger for the BBC documentary Little Angels. In 2007 she was commissioned by the Liverpool Lighthouse to compose a choral piece for young vocalists in the Merseyside area to commemorate the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act and she has also been commissioned to compose the soundtrack for the feature length film Disoriented Generation.
Ayanna’s recent release Truthfully – an EP produced by Marc Mac (4hero) – is available now via her website : http://www.ayannamusic.com/
Ayanna Witter-Johnson has been nominated for a MOBO for Best Jazz Act 2012. Click here to VOTE for this rare gem: http://mobo.com/voting/