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A born and raised Londoner, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, uncovers the hidden stories of her hometown through the lens of her Jamaican heritage. The singer / songwriter / cellist, with her unique blend of classically infused jazz, reggae and soul, presents a night of song and storytelling accompanied by some special guests.
Singer, songwriter, cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a rare exception to the rule that classical and alternative R&B music cannot successfully coexist.
Graduating with a first class degree from both the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Manhattan School of Music, Ayanna was a participant in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik 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 and Ella, Reuben and Ay) and her debut album Road Runner. Ayanna has extensively toured the UK and Europe, whilst gaining a MOBO award nomination and receiving airplay on BBC Radio 1 & BBC 1Xtra. A performer of extraordinary versatility her live shows are intimate journeys that chronicle her experience as a female artist in the 21st century. Ayanna has collaborated with artists as diverse as Akala, Riz MC, Nitin Sawhney and Anoushka Shankar. 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.
Because of her musical prowess, enchanting vocals, non-compromising lyrics and ability to deftly reinterpret songs on the cello Ayanna is able to straddle both the classical and black music worlds effortlessly
She is the definition of eclectic soul.