national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, June 20, 2011


John Manuel is a singer songwriter who has honed his skills as a fingerpicking guitarist over the last ten years. He builds his songs from the complex guitar riffs which are his trademark sound.

Hi debut album, Lost and Found, recently received a 2011 SAMA award nomination for Best Adult Contemporary Album and he will promote this at a forthcoming event at Phansi Museum. In what promises to be an exciting new format, he will perform with bass guitarist Lenski Alfred.

Two years in the making, Lost and Found was developed under the guidance of one of South Africa’s top producers, Brian O’Shea. John explains that when they first met, Brian promised that they would make an album beyond anything John had ever dreamed, and Lost and Found is definitely such an album.

“Brian constantly pushed me to explore new dimensions of song craft in a way that never undermined the integrity of the music,” John says. “He understood that my songs tell stories based on my observations of life around me, whether personal or political. This needs to define both the sound and the character of the music we make. Brian gets this and was always sensitive to my instincts in this regard. My time with Brian has probably been the richest in my musical career.”

After discussions with several record labels, John signed with Musketeer Records to market Lost and Found. He believes that Musketeer is unusual in the music industry because they place the needs of the artist and the album at the centre of their strategy. “I am fortunate,” he says, “in that I have a fully engaging job as a school teacher, so this album is a 'labour of love'; it is not commercially motivated. I have recorded it because I have songs developing inside of me and I want to get them out on the airwaves. Musketeer fully understands this and has devised a plan around this.”

When asked what next, John smiles. “There are plenty more songs on the way,' he says. “I have riffs in my head, many of which feel like old friends, and they emerge at their own time into fully fledged songs. It will be a life long journey of creativity for me.'

John Manuel appears at Phansi Museum on June 23 at 19h30. Entry R50, refreshments will be available and there will be a car guard on duty. Dress warmly and there is limited seating so bookings are essential on 083 450 3270. For more information visit