Matthew Barley/Cellist

Music is the universal language of mankind.


I have always loved working with other musicians, and, especially, meeting those from different musical worlds. Over the last ten years I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most exciting jazz pianists in the UK: Julian Joseph (we toured a project for 27 concerts around the world in 2001 and recorded Through The Looking Glass together with Viktoria Mullova for Decca, as well as duo recitals), Django Bates and Nikki Yeoh, who wrote a set of pieces for me that we toured with solo Bach suites in Europe in 2000. Recently I have bumped into the world music scene a lot, principally through my collaborations with Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, who is the most revered living and working sarod player, and one of the most respected north Indian musicians touring today. We first met in 1999 when I had a 24 hour stopover in Delhi on the way back from Australia to meet and discuss a proposal for a London concert, and we ended up playing the whole day, and loving it! Our first concert was in London at a sold-out Royal Festival Hall – it was a very exciting occasion, and my baptism by fire into the Indian music scene. We have worked quite a lot together since, in the UK, India, France, and the WOMAD festivals in Australia and New Zealand, and are both looking forward to more projects, discussing recordings and tours and a double concerto for sarod and cello and string orchestra. Our first recording has just come out – Strings Attached, on Navras.
At the WOMAD festivals, I worked with many musicians, like the amazing Californian slide-guitarist Bob Brozman; Ernest Ranglin, the legendary Jamaican guitarist and one-time mentor of Bob Marley, and Andy Smith – very talented Irish songwriter and poet. A highlight of WOMAD was organizing the All-Star gala finale for the festivals when they happened in Adelaide and New Zealand, where I wrote a new song with Cara Dillon (a new star on the scene from Ireland), and fabulous singer/songwriter from Benin, Julien Jacob, and also got to work with the wonderful Temple of Sound.

I have just enormously enjoyed some concerts in Cyprus with multi-instrumentalist Ross Daly, where we worked on songs from the Balkans in impossible time signatures like 22/8 and 18/8
Over the years, I have also taken part in other projects with Talvin Singh, and the extraordinary singer, Grace Nono from the Philippines; jazz singer Ian Shaw, African composer and kora player Tunde Jegede, folk/rock band The Hothouse Flowers, and the Genhoken School for traditional instruments in Tokyo, Japan.