• Yannis & The Yaw

    Yannis has teamed up with the late great drummer Tony Allen (best known for his work with Fela Kuti) for the ‘Lagos Paris London’ EP which will be released on 30th August via Transgressive Records. 

    Yannis & The Yaw is definitively not the start of a solo career: the “yaw” of the name references the nature of a project that emerged entirely organically during a specific period of time; a distinct musical excursion that Yannis expects will resurface episodically when events, environment and musical collaborators all fall fortuitously into place.

    That’s precisely how ‘Lagos Paris London’ emerged. Yannis had been a fan of Tony for years, so when a mutual friend offered Yannis the opportunity to work with Tony in 2016 he took the opportunity to head to Paris. The studio turned out to be exactly how you’d imagine a Fela Kuti session to look like circa 1972: African percussion instruments and analogue equipment at every turn, the glare of wall-to-wall mirrors only glazed by the thick-fog of chain-smoking.

    Joined by Tony’s regular collaborators Vincent Taeger (percussion, marimba), Vincent Taurelle (keys) and Ludovic Bruni (bass, guitar), the drummer’s initially “pleasantly dismissive” reception of Yannis evolved into an “undeniable connection through generations, through cultures, through experiences” as their two-day session yielded an EP’s worth of material, which was further developed over a handful of subsequent sessions. But between scheduling conflicts and Covid restrictions, actually completing their ideas proved to be frustratingly elusive. Naturally, when Tony passed away in April 2020 aged 79, Yannis felt compelled to bring the project to fruition.

    Yannis comments: “There was an imperative to finish it in a way that I had never felt with another record. There was a deep duty to do it, to finish it as well as possible, and to pay respect to him by getting it out there. Going through some of the drum takes was a moving experience because those recordings were some of the last pieces of music he ever worked on. There’s an eternal quality to these drum tracks, and you feel a continuity of his life and energy through them. He wanted people to hear this, and it’s good to be able to do it for him - but of course it’s slightly bittersweet.”

    As for the near future? Yannis hopes to take the EP’s high-spirited, loose-grooved exuberance to select shows in the UK, France and perhaps beyond. He also plans to return to Yannis & The Yaw in the future for further collaborations with inspiring musicians from across the globe.

    Pre-order the Lagos Paris London EP now from the Official Shop

    Yannis & The Yaw

    1. Walk Through Fire
    2. Rain Can’t Reach Us
    3. Night Green, Heavy Love
    4. Under The Strikes
    5. Clementine

    …keep yr eyes peeled for merch…

    Photo by Kit Monteith