Kathryn Locke with Chodompa Music

Throughout her career as a composer and self-taught experimental cellist, Kathryn has been asked what kind of music she plays. Finally, she has an answer: Chodompa Music.

Together with Sarah Allen (flutes), Jo Freya (saxophone and clarinet), Jo May (percussion) and Geoff Coombs (mandola), she has created Chodompa Music, the band. Drawing on her background in traditional music and experience as a composer in contemporary arts, she has created music that is elemental, visceral, tender, playful and fierce. It is unique. It is surprising. It is Chodompa Music.

“From the first downbeat I was hooked. Beautifully written themes with thoughtful, yet unpredictable arrangements, draw you in and hold you there until the next track takes you on yet another magic carpet ride”. Phil Cunningham

With Chodompa Music, it is really important to Kathryn that each of the musicians gets to express their own voice. Each piece begins with the spark of an idea discovered through improvisation on the cello. It might be a sound, an interval or a rhythm. By playfully exploring it with each musician, the idea develops into a landscape of energy, texture and emotion, which Kathryn hones until the final piece emerges. The process usually involves knotted fingers, scrambled brains and faces that hurt from laughing.

Making the album “La” marks the return of Kathryn Locke after several years silence, having recovered from an illness that left her unable to speak. However, due to her direct ability to communicate through her cello, she never lost her voice. Instead, it helped her to develop her unique and deeply personal language for the instrument, which enables her to speak of every part of her experience. Nothing is off limits. The techniques she has discovered and developed leave no aspect of the instrument unexplored and form the backbone of the band’s music.

If the world was flat, this would be the sound you would hear as you fell off the edge.” Alexander George Mackenzie (artist)

Sarah Allen, Jo Freya, Jo May and Geoff Coombs all share experience and a love of traditional music, but each has trodden a very different path. Their backgrounds are diverse, from orchestral to the avant garde, but they all revel in the joy of being physically and musically challenged. Kathryn loves to see how far they will go…and they go far.

Kathryn Locke has played with a myriad of different bands and has written music for dance, theatre, film, TV and radio, but it is Chodompa Music that gives her full freedom to express her creative voice. It is the love of her musical life.

La album release 1st May 2021


Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen is best known as a founder member of award-winning flute-based Anglo-Irish folk band, Flook. Flook have toured the world for the past 25 years invigorating the folk scene with their mix of traditional tunes and contemporary beats.

Though originally classically trained, Sarah’s first outings as a professional musician saw her playing alongside legendary free jazz drummer, John Stevens, whose approach to music challenged everything she had previously learned. Onwards from there, she joined ramshackle political big band, The Happy End, and then The Barely Works, another ground-breaking band on the UK folk scene.

Sarah has played with Oysterband, Show of Hands, Sally Barker, Phil Cunningham and many others, and was a member of The Waterboys in their ‘An Appointment with Mr Yeats’ line-up.

Jo Freya

Jo Freya is a renowned traditional singer who hasperformed internationally across a huge range of musical styles. She is also a composer and plays soprano and tenor sax, clarinets and traditional whistles. A maverick instrumentalist on the folk scene, she is passionate about the music she plays and she adores the collaborative meeting of creative musical minds. Her warmth, wit and way with a tale make her an entertainer who is guaranteed to exercise your chuckle muscles. Jo performs with Blowzabella, Narthen, Morai, Token Women and The Old Swan Band.

Jo is committed to the idea that everyone has a musical voice to express and helps people to find this through the choral and instrumental workshops she runs. She has also created Komposit, a boundary breaking project that enables young composers to have their music heard.

Jo May

Jo May originally trained as an orchestral percussionist at the Royal College of Music and has played with many orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra and English National Ballet.

A trip to Sidmouth Folk Festival sparked her imagination and her enthusiasm for traditional music. It changed her direction and opened her career up to new bands, sounds and experiences, including studying in Senegal.

Jo May is one half of duo ‘Intarsia’ with fiddle player and folk singer, Sarah Matthews. They released their debut album “Sistere” in 2020. She also plays/has played with with Against the Grain, Token Women, Stepling, Folk Dance Remixed, Komposit Young Composers Project…and she is always in demand for her spoons workshops.

Geoff Coombs

Geoff Coombs (aka Glyph Owenson) formed free improvising duo Alas Poor Bruin with saxophonist Steve Kettley (Cauld Blast Orchestra, Salsa Celtica) in 1970. They recently returned to celebrate their Golden Jubilee with an online collaboration. He later played with synth pioneers Zorch and avant-rock bands the Reasonable Strollers (with Mat Fraser on drums) and Kip Keino. His interest in traditional music, which began at university playing with Nick Burbridge, led to him learning mandolin, mandola, tenor banjo and whistle. He then became a founder member of the Churchfitters, Vivando (with Kathryn Locke and Pete Cooper) and the Hosepipe Band.
He now performs and records solo improvisations on 12 string guitar, electric bouzouki and electronics.

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