Award-winning acoustic guitarist and composer Jonny Phillips was born in 1971 between the mountains and the sea on the borders of England and Scotland. After completing a degree in music at Newcastle College he based himself in London from 1995 until early 2007 where he set about developing his own sound with a unique blend of harmony, rhythms and orchestration.

He is best known for leading the seven-piece Latin American-influenced band Oriole, featuring a unique set of musicians chosen for their musical openness, empathetic playing and ability to assimilate folkloric styles into a unified contemporary sound. Including Mercury Award nominees Ingrid Laubrock, Sebastian Rochford and Ben Davis. Oriole released two critically acclaimed albums Song for the Sleeping (2005) and Migration (2006) before a break during which Jonny travelled in search of new influences and sounds.

On passing through the Andalucian city Cadiz, on the way back from North Africa he was so captivated by the music and people of the oldest city in Europe he didn’t leave. Staying for three and a half years soaking up the sounds and vibrations of the southern Spanish sunshine. On returning to London he blended these Spanish sounds with Brazilian rhythms, classical harmony, art-rock and jazz to produce Oriole’s epic 3rd album Every New Day (2012). The album exudes warmth, not only in its analogue recording, Latin rhythms and alto tonalities but also in the musical interplay of these long-time musical friends

Jonny has performed and recorded with many musicians and projects including Arun Ghosh, Polar Bear, Asabre Quay’s Senako, The F-ire Collective Large Ensemble, Barak Schmool, Teco Cardoso, Roland Gift, Soothsayers, Giorgio Serci, The Mad Professor, Juliet Kelly and Julia Biel. He is currently scoring music for the feature film Passing Through, working on an opera for director/writer David Walter Hall and developing an album for his new project Guitar Journey. He teaches guitar for Brixton based afrobeat/reggae youth band Youthsayers.


BBC Innovation Award, Jerwood foundation Award.

With thanks to:

Arts Council of England for:

Oriole and The Indrid Laubrock Quintet – Tour and workshops
Oriole Brazil – Cheltenham Festival and Touring Grant

PRSF for:

Various touring grants

Selected Press:

Record Collector  “Ravishingly beautiful” ****

BBC Music Magazine “Outstanding” *****

The Observer – Dave Gelly  “An unexpected delicacy” ****

The Guardian – John Fordham “The music, and the recording, quietly blaze like an Iberian summer” ****

Mojo “Utterly persuasive and charming

The Glasgow Herald – Rob Adams  “the musics shape and momentum continue to thrill. A belter.

Echoes Magazine “making consistently good records for the best part of a decade” ***