Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, pianist and cellist. She has a phenomenal mastery for seamlessly crossing the boundaries of classical, jazz, reggae, soul and R&B, to imprint her unique musical signature with her virtuosic tap, strum and bow with her cello into her sound and vibe.
After graduating with a first-class degree from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Manhattan School of Music, Ayanna participated in the London Symphony Orchestra's Panufnik Young Composers Scheme. Soon after, as Emerging Artist in Residence at London's Southbank Centre, Ayanna performed as a featured artist with Courtney Pine's Afropeans: Jazz Warriors.
An acclaimed and celebrated performer, Ayanna has collaborated with many stellar artists, including Anoushka Shankar, Nitin Sawhney, Andrea Bocelli and Jools Holland. She has also toured extensively across the UK, Europe and the US. As a composer, Ayanna has been commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Güerzenich Orchester, Ligeti Quartet, Kronos Quartet and The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company to name but a few.
Ayanna has released three EPs (Truthfully, Black Panther, and Ella, Reuben & Ay) and put out her debut album Road Runner in 2019, with its two subsequent singles ‘Nothing Less’ and ‘Crossroads’. With her January 2021 surprise-released EP Rise Up, Ayanna again combined reggae, classical, jazz and R&B to celebrate black culture and identity to uplift and inspire the next generation. The stunning collection of three tracks ‘Rise Up’, ‘Declaration Of Rights’, and ‘Rise Up Riddim’ have received a huge amount of critical acclaim.
‘In Rise Up, I created a song with a strong message specifically influenced by my Jamaican heritage. The starting point was a dancehall riddim that informed the main cello riff. Lyrically, I challenged myself to create something uplifting with an uplifting message, and it just flowed. I wrote the song for the next generation in the black community to remember they are the key to the future. To celebrate their culture and to be proud of it. Now is not the time to give up on your dreams. No matter how hard things seem, Rise Up, embrace our history and claim our birth rights of freedom and joy.’
Ayanna on Rise UpAs a performer of extraordinary versatility, Ayanna's live shows are intimate journeys that chronicle her experience as a female artist in the 21st century. Due to her musical prowess, mesmerising vocals, non-compromising lyrics, and ability to deftly reinterpret songs on the cello.
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Fri 27 May & Sat 25 June 2022 8pm Liverpool Philharmonic Hall