Kevin Willoughby is an experienced and well-seasoned musician who has performed with a wide variety of different styled artists from Gospel and Blues to Jazz, Reggae and African ethnic music.
From four generations of music within his family, Kevin started early. He was classically trained on piano from the age of 5, the oboe from the age of 11 and the guitar from 14. Growing up in a musically rich environment, which included solo performances on oboe at the age of thirteen, to school pop group gigs on guitar at 14 and 15. His mid teens saw his initiation into the world of recording via his fathers’ Philips four-track reel-to-reel tape recorder, which enabled him to multi-track his own arrangements. He also began to compose more of his own music, experimenting with influences from classical to pop.
At 19 he started playing the bass guitar for the first time with a country and western band, and not long after, found himself playing in jazz rock and jazz funk fusion bands, (one of them featuring jazz guitarist John Paricelli) and gaining high mileage backing artists from Dame Vera Lynn, Tommy Trinder and Hinge and Brackett, to Jools Holland, Bonnie Tyler and Youssou Ndour.
For the past 26 years he has performed more exclusively on Bass and Keyboards, and as well as his own catalogue of personal compositions and musical templates, he has also recorded and performed live with a rich variety of artists across Europe, the US, and Africa,
including the likes of:
- Freddie Wadling (Blue for Two, Flesch Quartet: top Swedish artist)
- Debbie Cameron (Gospel and R+B singer; Denmark)
- Sator (Swedish rock band)
- Mark Sanders (session drummer for Steve Beresford, Jah Wobble)
- Jonny Wartel (Swedish saxophone player/ Position Alpha)
- Mark Flanagan (British guitarist/songwriter)
- Emily Druce (solo British blues artist)
- Herbert Spliffington all-stars (Jamaian Ska feat.“satch” Dixon)
- John Paricelli (jazz guitarist)
- Rico Rodriguez (legendary Jamaican trombonist)
He has performed at a wide range of international events and festivals including Glastonbury, Edinburgh, WOMAD and the Bracknell Jazz festival. The WAW and Godiva festivals, and overseas events like The Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto through to Chinese New Year in Hong Kong as well as numerous other European and US venues.
Between 1988 and 1994 he lived in Senegal, where he soon found himself working with a multitude of musicians. He fell in love with the Kora and performed frequently with Griot Kora players like Solo Sissokho and Soriba Kouyate, he found himself even more in the spotlight in Dakar as keyboard player with Omar Penes Super Diamono and later on in 92 to 93 with Ismael Lo, on a US tour.
He continues to have a strong relationship with Senegalese music and musicians, and this experience has given him a deep and extensive hands-on knowledge of many aspects of the music and culture of West Africa, and the different rhythms and nuances which exist across different ethnic groups. He has played modern urban, as well as traditional and acoustic music there, and has a good working knowledge of W.African rhythms, and instruments such as the Kora, Balafon and Djembe.
Kevin has just returned to the UK after another two year stint in Senegal playing Keyboards and Bass with Pape + Cheikh (pape-cheikh.ifrance.com) with top percussionist Thio Mbaye, Nakodje, Goo Ba, Pape Niang and Souleymane Faye, as well as members of Youssou Ndours band. Currently between London and Mid-Wales where he’s also working with Ro1 on dance/ambient/DJ oriented music and beats mixed with live playing, and constructing a web-based interlinking platform for like-minded musicians, painters, photographers, dancers and other artists who’s notions unite us.
[ 1974 - 1984 ]
[ 1984 - 1988 ]
[ 1988 - 1994 ]
[ 1994 - 2001 ]
[ 2002 - Present ]
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