Jon Sanders - the Bard of Bouzouki, the Duke of Uke
"A bold explorer and an original thinker.. quantum leaping. A canny musical curiosity that refuses to be boxed in,"
Siobhan Long, The Irish Times reviewing the Latitudes album.
"The whole album is a therapeutic journey through music that shows Jon's love for the bouzouki and ukulele. If music is indeed therapy then Jon Sanders has a degree in it. The Bard of the Bouzouki and the Duke of Uke," Mike O'Hare, West Kerry Live.
"This new album from Jon Sanders (Twigs of the Neem Tree) is a delightful product of an inventive musical mind with finely honed melodic sensibilities. It goes in, it goes round and round and it comes out sounding bright, bold and brilliant." Tom Clancy. reviewer, theoldblognode.blogspot.com. Full album review under Links and Reviews.
Jon Sanders is recognised as a leading exponent in drop D and DADGAD guitar playing, a virtuoso bouzouki player and tenor ukulele player and an internationally acclaimed composer. His style draws on the freedom within the contemporary acoustic music scene incorporating elements of jazz, funk, latino and Celtic styles, somewhat reminiscent of Sylvain Luc, Pierre Bensusan and Antonio Forcione, James Hill yet instantly different. He is one of the driving forces behind the ecclectic Beyondsemble band appearing at WOMAD NZ 2013 and touring Europe summer and Australasia in 2013.
Read on for more details and reviews....:-)
He worls with some of the best irish traditional musicians and singers including: accordianist/singer Seamus Begley; singers Michael and Mary Black; BBC2 2012 folk musicians of the year guitarist/accordianist Tim Edey; uillean piper Eoin Duignan; violinist Toni Geiling, Lord of the Dance accordianist Liam O'Connor; harmonica player Brendan Power; singers Eilish Kennedy and Pauline Scanlon; NZ world folk funk band Beyondsemble; He's also a guest member of dub funk band Black Sand Diva; Jon co-formed the very successful dynamic electro-acoustic duo Sanders Alley with talented singer, guitarist percussionist Dave Alley (www.myspace.com/sandersalley). Here's a review of them from the 2011 European summer tour:
"Dave Alley and Jon Sanders’ finger-popping neem tree vibe had already packed the punters off to ‘Inverurie’ to sample a single malt and watch the sun set over the glens. The first of several travelling songs, each sculptured into the ether with a dizzying array of instrumentation, arrangement and sheer joyful technical proficiency, it epitomised much of their repertoire: pure compositions that themselves stand alone, to which a few words can set the scene and deepen the appreciation of the sentiments that Dave and Jon express through guitar, bouzouki, ukulele and hand drum. We had sketches of Spain, eulogies to independent Kiwi coffee shops, protests at road building through the sacred places of Tara and a tribute to a Gabriel Garcia Márquez novel. It was the staggeringly beautifully Latin themes of ‘Love in a time of Cholera’, each a paradigmatic magic realist moment from the book, which pipped the astonishing ukulele playing on ‘Nuke the Blues’ as the ‘most smashed cathode tube’ instant to savour. With every note perfectly crafted to resonate with the internal emotions of the characters, this ranked as a real BTT highpoint – certainly the most exhilarating musicianship to date - not least in the modest way its performers graciously soaked up the explosion of adulation, as if they had just had a gentle jog around a few scales rather than flawlessly negotiating a mesmerising series of changes of rhythm and melody.
Perhaps it had something to do with the duo’s touring schedule, which seems to be cleverly broken by stays in magical places on the Celtic -Antipodean fringes. Appropriately, the evening of curative carousel ling concluded with everyone whisked off to Dingle on the therapeutic carpet for an impressionistic litany of the power that place can have on regenerating one’s emotional batteries. So, as Dave and Jon sang of heading once more over Connor Pass to spread good music to sooth the troubled folk of the world, we unashamedly bellowed out those simple primordial sentiments of joy that another antipodean musician turned into a global dance anthem: la la la la la la lah! Proof indeed that wherever one is – strumming guitars around a communal beach fire as the sun slips into the Atlantic, or tolerating cramped commuter conditions with a pair of headphones on, those atoms dancing and colliding in the ether around our heads facilitates a means for neither burning out nor fading away! " Better Than Telly concerts, Huddersfield, UK.
Sanders Alley has since its extended the line up into Sanders Alley Khan with singer/fiddle/mandolin/guitarist Dave Khan; and Sanders Alley Geiling with violinist Toni Geiling. Plus many others....
Jon has just launched his 3rd album, Twigs of the Neem Tree, a collection of bouzouki and ukulele compositions accompanied by 12 of the best acoustic musicians in their respective fields today. It has a therapeutic healing theme in honour of the revered Indian medicinal tree.
The Irish Times says of the new Twigs album: "There's an organic, deliciously weathered quality to the collection that brings a coherence to what is a highly disparate dozen of tunes. What strikes most is his subtle but confident compositional skills. A slow-burning delight."
Says Jon: “Bouzouki is probably my favourite instrument, leaping effortlessly over so many musical boundaries and genres - you’ll hear classical, jazz funk and contemporary acoustic styles here. And the tenor ukulele makes a perfect platform to transpose music from other instruments and bring a smile to the audience at the same time - I’ve arranged music as diverse as Irish polkas and ancient harp tunes alongside blue grass meltdowns on this album!”
Sublimely accompanying Jon on the tracks are some of the finest exponents of acoustic music today. They include guitarists BBC2 folk musicain of the year 2012 Tim Edey (Irl/UK) and Mark Mazengarb (NZ) who is currently supporting Tommy Emmanuel, cellist Barry Philips (USA), percussionists Greg Sheehan (Australia) and Martin Schaerer (Switzerland), vocalist and guitarist Dave Alley(NZ) and violinist Toni Geiling (Germany).
Twigs of the Neem Tree continues to receive culpable praise across the music industry and is now available from this website(Click here), from www.cdbaby.com/cd/jonsanders and for download on iTunes. The Irish Times calls it "a slow-burning delight" (The Ticket 13.08.10).