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Photo: Katarzyna Borek

Pete is a cellist, sitarist and vocalist from a family of travelling Showpeople. While his grandfather was the last Yelding to live a Showman’s life on the road, Pete continues the family’s trade of performing into at least its 7th generation! He fell in love with the cello aged 4 after a chance introduction at nursery. Growing up, his mother – an illustrator and artist – took him in an illustrated caravan to small fairs, camps and festivals, where he would meet and play with musicians from every continent. This gave him the grounding for his musical life today.

At the beginning of his cello and composition studies at Birmingham Conservatoire, Pete took a short course in sitar with Clem Alford. He found Hindustani music resonated like no other art form and was hooked for life. After graduating, alongside his numerous creative projects, he practised sitar for 10 years, receiving training from Jonathan Mayer of the Senia veen-kar Gharana and playing weddings and restaurants. During this time he also received vocal tuition from Rauf Saami and tuition in string performance techniques from Esraj player, Gurbaksh Singh and West African Griots, Juldeh Camara, Jally Kebba Susso and Sura Susso – a friend since his teens.

In 2020, Pete was funded by Arts Council England to travel to Kolkata and spend an intensive period studying sitar under the legendary sarod player, Ustad Irfan Muhammad Khan of the Lucknow-Shahjahanpur Gharana. He is now concentrating on fully adopting the performance style and musical knowledge of this gharana in his practice. To that end he is studying towards a PhD, funded by the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, at Bath Spa and Exeter Univesrities. His research examines the body as a musical archive and traces the embodied knowledge of his ustad’s Gharana through translations between sarod, sitar and cello.

Over his professional career Pete has collaborated with artists such as Zinzi Minott, Mammal Hands, Iqbal Khan, Talvin Singh, Sura Susso, Jonathan Mayer, Shagufta Iqbal, & Amadou Diagne; and organisations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Bristol Old Vic, Cape Farewell & Birmingham REP.