Formed in London in 2011, The Fontanelles have been inventively blurring the lines between Afrobeat, African grooves and Dub ever since. Renowned for their infectious live energy and shows, the 10-piece group stay true to their core sound of Fela Kuti-style afrobeat (honed while acting as the onstage band for the National Theatre’s sellout transfer of Fela!), while bringing in sounds from Ethiopia, Minimalist textures, sun-drenched dub and righteous horn-led dancefloor grooves.
Featuring musicians with credits including Mulatu Astatke, Salif Keita, Jazz Jamaica, Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA, Cinematic Orchestra, Jamiroquai and more, the band have worked-up a bold, horn-heavy sound of their own with tunes written by the whole band and strong live sets. They released their debut LP Horns Of Freedom on First Word Records in 2013. Featuring a colourful, nostalgic big studio sound without relying on faux-vintage stylings, and tight arrangements without sacrificing the open grooves of their live shows, the LP earned strong reviews and BBC Radio airplay from Jamie Cullum, Huey Morgan and Craig Charles. The band continues to push the boundaries of Afro-centric grooves, reaching an ever increasing audience of fans.
Keyboardist and pianist Nick Ramm has worked with Jim Mullen, Dave O’Higgins, Byron Wallen and Ethiopian jazz master Mulatu Astatke . He has also worked with Joss Stone and Tom Jones and is the keyboards player with electronic-pop group Stateless.
Trumpeter Robin Hopcraft has performed with Aswad, Gerry Dammers Spatial Aka Orchestra, Antibalas, Dele Sosimi, Rico Rodrigues, Co leader of Soothsayers and was Co Musical Director at FELA!,
Leon Bichard – Bassman – for Salif Keita and Les ambassadeurs, Ibibio sound machine, Plan B, Fela! the musical.
Idris Rahman – Tenor Sax – Co Leader of Soothsayers with trumpeter Robin Hopcraft, producing six albums. He has also performed and recorded with his MOBO – winning sister Zoe Rahman, Arun Ghosh, Oriole and Julia Biel. He played lead saxophone on the recent National Theatre production of Fela!
Tamar Osbourne – Baritione Sax – She has played for Spiritualized, Kelis, Dele Sosimi, Africa Express, Fela! The Musical, Emanative, Jessica Lauren, Tanmoy Bose and the Hackney Colliery Band amongst others. She also runs her own modal jazz 7-piece Collocutor
Mauricio Ravalico – Percussion – has worked with Jamiroquai, Paul McCartney, James Taylor Quartet, DKD, Dele Sosimi, Fela! The Musical, Fiium Shaarrk, Collocutor.
Harry Brown – Trombone – is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. His regular performance, studio& arranging credits include international artists such as Adele, Rudimental, Massive Attack, Tom Jones, Ken Boothe, Jerry Dammers, John Legend and Jazz Jamaica.
Saleem Raman – Drums – performed with David Gilmore (Pink Floyd), Duncan James (Blue) & Lilly Allen to Kaidi Tatham (Bugz in the Attick) & Nick Mulvey (Portico Quartet) to name a few.
Jon Gingell – Guitar – collaborated with Sister Bliss at the National Theatre also worked at Sadler’s Wells, Theatre Royal Haymarket, Peacock Theatre, Regent’s Park Open Air, Soho Theatre; concerts for London Sinfonietta, Scottish Chamber Orchestra; projects for Universal, Decca, Abbey Road.