Canary Wharf Jazz Festival - Interview: Ciyo Brown

By Rob Virtue on August 12, 2014 8:13 AM |

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Over the next three days scores of top musicians will take to the stage at Canada Square Park offering fans a host of hits.

Established and rising stars will be performing at the Canary Wharf Jazz Festival. And in the former camp is guitarist Ciyo Brown, who is headlining the show on Saturday, and he says it's a must-see weekend for music fans.

"It's a brilliant festival," said Ciyo, also a previous performer at the event. "I'm a big fan of playing outdoor gigs. There's something about the atmosphere when in nice weather people can really get involved with the music better than they can while inside."

Ciyo will be performing The Motown Sound with a strong backing band. He said to listen out for some big hits from yesteryear.

"People can expect a really heartfelt performance," he said. "We've a big 10-piece band with three fantastic vocalists. We first performed together at Stratford Circus in February. It went brilliantly.

"The problem with Motown though, is what to leave out. There are so many classics. We'll be doing a mixture of 1960s and '70s with songs from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Supremes and Smokey Robinson."

Ciyo is an amazing guitar talent who has collaborated with a huge list of top stars from the likes of Ruby Turner and YolanDa Brown to Annie Lennox and Suggs.

But, despite such musical success, he's still keen to remain part-time after words of advice from his father, another guitar player, that led him to develop a long and successful career in law.

Ciyo said: "When I was about 10 my father said 'never commit to doing music full-time. Never give it up and always have it there to fall back on'. So I always continued as a legal adviser.

"But I've worked with a big range of artists and that's always helped me develop. When I look back at my CV I don't think I've done bad for a part-time musician."

Aug 16, Ciyo Brown's The Motown Sound, Canada Square Park, FREE 6.45pm,

3 others to watch out for:

Zara McFarlane


East London-based singer/songwriter who has "graduated from skilful diffidence to magnetic eloquence," according to The Guardian.

Saturday, 3.15-4.30pm

Yiddish Twist Orchestra


A quirky band aiming to revive the lost music of London in the '50s. Recently described as "entertaining, varied, classy".

Sunday, 5-6.15pm

Andy Sheppard

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Multi-award winning saxophonist who has worked with the best. Has also released 16 albums.

Sunday 6.45-8.15pm