Yumi La Blanca
Flamenco Meets Funk - Jonjan in Woolwich Works
Normally, playing the guitar, performing percussion and talking friendly in public are all different skills. Not all musicians are good speakers and being friendly doesn’t guarantee that you have a good sense of rhythm. Jonjan is not just the full package, but he is excellent at all three: an outstanding guitarist, an impressive percussionist and a friendly individual.
While having Turkish and British origins, it seems Jonjan (also spelt as Joncan) has been inspired by flamenco music as well as other genres. Although he is associated with flamenco, to be honest I - as a flamenco person - didn’t know about him until my husband took me to his gig in Woolwich Works last night (Saturday 1st April). Without prior knowledge about him, I was immediately blown away by his musicality as soon as I heard the first few phrases. I could surely feel certain flamenco elements in his sound.
He describes his style as flamenco-funk fusion. I myself enjoyed his music rather as Latin-funk fused with flamenco-guitar technique. In any case, his exciting compositions and percussive playing style are both entertaining and captivating.
Not only an amazing solo guitarist, he also excels as a percussionist. It’s common for any flamenco guitarists to utilise the surface of the guitar for making percussive sounds. His level, however, easily goes beyond our expectation. Through his instrument, his sense of rhythm embodies not only as crispy sounds but also as visual entertainment. Tapping and slapping the body of the guitar as well as his own body, the playful percussive elements enrich not only the entire sound but also the audience experience. His performance is visually mesmerising, stimulating not only our ears but also our vision.
When Jonjan is immersed in his own soundscape, engaging his whole body and concentration, his guitar becomes a part of his body, the extension of his torso, arms as well as soul. The instrument sings, cries and even sweats on his behalf. Playing the guitar is physically somewhat demanding, stressing your fingers, nails, arms and even legs as well as the back. When adding up quite a lot of percussion techniques like him, I bet that the level of physicality jumps up, which requires so much practice, effort and energy.
Driven by passion, dedication as well as talent, Jonjan will keep impressing the audiences worldwide. While we look very much forward to his recordings coming up later in the year, I’d also recommend that you go to his actual gig somewhere in the UK or elsewhere and witness his inspiring audio-visual live performance. Just like my husband and I felt, you’ll find him a very nice person too.
Jonjan ‘Mental State’
Jonjan official Instagram
Jonjan (Joncan) official website