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Jo May

Jo May

Percussion musician (with Against the Grain)

Appearing on Sunday at 1pm in the Performance Area, and at 2pm in the Workshops Room

Click here to download the event programme


Jo originally trained at the Royal College of Music and began her career working with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra. A trip to Sidmouth Folk Festival sparked an enthusiasm for traditional music, which led to her interest in West African and Afro-Cuban music, as well as folk music from Europe and the British Isles. She has studied West African drumming and balafon (West African xylophone) with a number of different teachers, both in England and in Senegal. And she has completed courses in Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian percussion with One Voice Music.

Jo is an experienced percussion teacher and workshop leader. She has spent many years as a peripatetic music teacher in schools, and previously ran a range of exciting rhythm-based workshops with her group, Tapatak. Jo currently runs Spoons Workshops for all ages, in schools, and for parties, festivals and events. She teaches a variety of techniques and rhythms on an assortment of spoons, often accompanied by fiddler, Linda Game, or guitarist, Matt Sullivan. For the last couple of years, she has run the Sidmouth Spoonchestra at Sidmouth Folk Week, a series of workshops working on different arrangements leading to a performance.

Jo performs regularly with Against the Grain, her duo with flamenco guitarist, Matt Sullivan. She is also involved with a new London-based trio with Toby Bennett (clogs) and Debs Chalmers (fiddle); with Folk Dance Remixed, a fusion of folk and hip hop styles of dance with music; and with various ceilidh bands including Token Women. Previous groups include the folk trio, Zoox, and European Band, Freyja.

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