Cellist | Sitarist | Vocalist
Pete comes from a long line of travelling performers. His experience of living on the British Isles has been shaped by the movement of people and knowledge. His playing reflects this. He has been trained in Hindustani music, composition and has received tuition from Griots.
His cello, sitar and vocal techniques overlap, creating a unique musical voice that is easy to recognise for its melodically intricate and texturally visceral qualities. Pete performs regularly, in numerous contexts, from weddings and restaurants to festivals and concert halls. His work has taken many forms, from solo performances to interdisciplinary collaborations. But melodic improvisation, song writing and a politicised wit remain constants at the centre of his practice.
A long time ago the Yelding family moved with travelling fairs and later became a part of Circus history. Their occupations included hawkers, carriage painters, puppeteers, musicians, clowns, wire walkers and bareback horse riders. Pete’s first name comes from his Grandad on his Mother’s side – a socialist artist from Goole whose family, the Bottomleys, worked the railways.
Moving between an estate in a small town near Milton Keynes and off grid communes in Norfolk & Suffolk via his Mother’s illustrated caravan, Pete grew up playing Cello in Western Classical ensembles, in Rock&Pop bands, with Djs at raves, with Mandinka Griots and Gnawa musicians. He was awarded a scholarship to study Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, where he also began training in Hindustani music on Sitar.
He then moved to South East London, where his ancestors would stay over winter. In order to bring together the many strands of his practice, he went on to study a Masters in Creative Practice at Goldsmiths. He combined further exploration of his unique cello playing style with interrogating legacies of empire embedded in musical histories. This process deepened his connection to the flows of musical knowledge, and the people he has learnt from, that have shaped his life.
He has released a number of albums, the most recent being F-NM-NL-G, as part of duo project, AB&PY. Recurrent themes in his songs include his perception of the workplace as a site of injustice, his anxieties about environmental collapse and a belief that mysticism embedded in every day strife will play a key role in reconfiguring a post-capitalist society.
In May 2019, Pete received Arts Council funding to continue the development of his practice. Over the course of the next year Pete will be building a new instrument – a ‘gourd cello’ and receiving further training in Hindustani music on sitar, cello and voice, and from Kora Players to develop his cello pizzicato technique.