Oren Marshall

Composer and Performer, Tuba and Electronics

Charming Transport Band

“Disintegrate the divisive and integrate the diverse”

“One of the best and most original bands in London, the Charming Transport Band are seriously skilled, world-class musicians and entertainers. They play a hot mix of Jazz, Afro-beat, Traditional Ghanaian, Funk and Improvisation. Continually evolving with each gig they play, they just get stronger and stronger. A totally unmissable and unique band.”

Check out some live footage of the band - http://youtu.be/suzDFr0zNHw

The Charming Transport Band are :

  • Oren Marshall – Tuba
  • Julian Siegel - Reeds
  • Miles James – Guitar
  • Lekan Shobiyi - Guitar
  • Jonathan Geyevu - Keyboards/Piano
  • Afla Sackey – Atenteben Flute, Vocals, Light Percussion, Dance
  • Yaw Asumadu – Djembe, Congas, Atenteben Flute
  • Annor Asamoah – Gome Drum

Every year, since 2009, the band has been featured at the London Jazz Festival and in 2011 opened the festival live on BBC radio.

Band biographies

Afla Sackey was born in Ghana. From the age of six he performed with Opense Folkloric group, eventually becoming their principal drummer. At sixteen he left to join Folkloric Selamla as a dancer. He returned to music in 1995, performing with Barkim Music Ensemble. After completing a degree in science at the University of Legon he was lured back to the stage by his love for music and an opportunity to visit the UK with the Kakatsitsi Master Drummers. He then spent 6 years with Adzido Pan-African Dance Ensemble as a dancer. He has been Dance Carib´s lead choreographer since 2003 and joined the Charming Transport Band in 2006.

Miles James grew up in north london surrounded by music and is an incredibly gifted multi-instrumentalist (he plays guitar,bass,keyboards,drums,flute,saxophone and sings). He met Oren whilst he was a student at the Royal Academy of Music. He is currently involved in much studio work and music production.
Yaw Asumadu was born in Ghana into a family of traditional musicians and dancers and started playing drums at the age of five. At ten he joined the African Combined Group. At college he was taught atenteben flute and music theory by Nana Danso, who also employed him in his band, the Pan African Orchestra(with whom, in ´92 he played a pivotal role in the first of several collaborations with Oren Marshall). Yaw stayed with the Orchestra for twelve years touring the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and West Africa. He came to London in 1999 with Nana Danso to teach authentic African music and dance with Adzido, staying on to join them as a master drummer for eight years. He is also a highly experienced and well-travelled drumming/team-building workshop leader.

Julian Siegel has become one of the most in-demand saxophone players in Europe. He has played alongside many world-class musicians including Hermeto Pascoal, Bill Frisell, Django Bates and Kenny Wheeler. Partisans, a group he has co-led with guitarist Phil Robson, for over 10 years, has become one of the most well known ensembles on the London jazz scene. He also leads and writes for the Julian Siegel Trio with US improvising stars Greg Cohen on Bass and Joey Baron on Drums. In 2007 he was awarded the BBC Jazz Award for Best Instrumentalist. He joined the Charming Transport Band in june 2008.

Annor Asamoah is from Accra, Ghana and first visited the UK in 1996 with traditional drumming group, Kakatsitsi. He is one of the world’s leading exponents of the Gome bass box drum as well as being a master of the Oslama processional war drum. He has released an album of his own entitled “Wula Wubeba” and teaches African drumming throughout the UK. As well as touring and recording with the Charming Transport Band, Annor has also performed in duo with Oren.

Lekan Sobiyi was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and grew up playing guitar and percussion in Juju and Fuji bands. He played with Nigerian Hip-Hop artist, Tony Tetuila and with Fuji giant, King Wasiu Ayinde K1. Since arriving in the UK in 2004, Lekan has been in much demand in the worlds of Jazz and African music, particularly Zimbabwean and South African music. He has played in a free-improvising trio with Oren and drummer, Mark Sanders and of late has been teaching himself guitar styles from Mali on the banjo.

Jonathan Geyevu grew up in south london and is a self-taught piano player, keyboardist and guitarist. A gifted and knowledgeable musician, he has learned numerous musical languages (baroque, classical, jazz, samba, blues, funk and more) entirely by ear. He has thus carved his own unique path. He also leads his own band, Sojourner.