JP Courtney is a professional percussionist, performer, tutor and event organiser from Ireland. He specialises in folk and carnival music from Cuba and Brazil. He is considered one of the best talents in his field in the UK and a reference for rhythmical information on the modern street carnival of Rio de Janeiro.
As well as performing with many groups around the UK, JP is currently teaching several Brazilian carnival music projects with great success. Some performances to date include Womad, Thames Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Rhythms of the World Festival, Rio Carnival and many venues in Rio de Janeiro.
Having been a member of the Monobloco show band, JP is well placed as an educator of the modern sounds of the ‘Carnaval Carioca’ (Rio carnival). He regularly travels to Brazil, where he performs and studies.
JP has completed two tours of Rio with his groups: in January 2014 with a small selection of people from Toque Tambor and in February 2014, JP took 45 of his students to take part in his prestigious Carnaval Transatlantico project. The group produced their own performances in the most famous carnival venues in Rio as well as putting on its own traditional street carnival parade.
JP was also a director of the internationally successful Cultural Olympiad project Rio Lapa Londres. The project brought together members of all of JP’s blocos, together with members from Monobloco and Sargento Pimenta in a parade to welcome the Olympic torch to London.
JP’s teaching style is unique. He combines musical accuracy with great technical ability and delivers it in his own unique and humerus way.
He is regularly asked to travel and teach other groups who play Brazilian percussion. He has been all over the UK and also taught workshops in Ireland and Spain and the Netherlands. In Sept 2014 he will teach with Celso Alvim (Monobloco’s musical director) at a Samba Encontro in Nijmegan, The Netherlands. He was also invited to help organise a Samba Encontro in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval 2012.
In his Cuban guise, JP performs with one of the UK’s only Cuban Rumba groups, Dilanga, and is a musical director of Orchestra Bombo, London’s newest and hippest Cuban Carnival outfit.
JP is also an event organiser and is credited with organising the hugely successful Brazilian Carnival Encontro, a festival of Brazilian carnival culture from around the world. Attended by masters of Brazilian carnival culture and hundreds of members of Brazilian carnival groups based in the UK and Europe, the event has now run for three very successful years.