Algy Behrens is a multi instrumentalist composer, producer and workshop leader.
He has years of experience performing, running workshops and music production.
Algy’s eclectic musical journey started in 1992 when he joined a West African band called ‘Lamin and Tobabbolu’ based in Leeds. His apprenticeship with band leader and multi instrumentalist Lamin Jassey allowed him to travel to Gambia in 1992 where he furthered his skills in lead and rhythm guitar, learning some of the vast and complex rhythms and harmonies of West African guitar styles. He remained with Lamin and the band for 2 years. Lamin also taught him West African drumming techniques and gave him his first taste in helping out in large drumming workshops.
In 1994 he moved to Devon and provided improvised music for a variety of different ‘five rhythms’ and African dance teachers in the south west.
In 2001 He studied flamenco guitar for 6 months with Rafael Habichuela, a master guitarist from one of the most acclaimed gypsy flamenco families in Spain.
His experience of studying with Raffa Habichuela was a very important one and to this day the influences of flamenco can be felt within his music.
Unfortunately he developed tendinitis, which stopped him from excelling as a flamenco guitarist. Instead he put his energies into developing his own style, one that was less rigorous and more complimentary to his other influences: Slide guitar, folk, finger picking, Afro-latin and Arabic as well as many more! He also got more into recording and learning various different music editing programmes, allowing him the time to explore his many voices.
In 2009 he moved to Bristol and started collaborating with various different artists. He released his first album ‘Pilgrim’ in 2011. He wrote, composed and produced the album, inviting some of Bristol’s finest musicians to record on it.
He studied claw hammer banjo style with Liam Kirby and developed his style to incorporate flamenco and Arabic modes into the Appalachian folk style that the banjo is more commonly associated with. He also continued to develop his unique ‘Flamenkulele’ style on the ukulele as well as refining his techniques on the Arabic lute (Oud), Charango (Bolivian stringed instrument) and cavaquinho (Portuguese/Brazilian stringed instrument).
He joined the Colombian/Cuban band ‘Aji pa Ti’ as a lead guitarist learning some of the many styles of the Colombian folkloric tradition. In 2013 they played Glastonbury festival to a packed crowd on the ‘Glastolatino’ stage.
In 2013 he went to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and set up his youth music project ‘Bristol Rio project’. Whilst there he soaked up the musical culture he’d always been inspired by and had lessons with Daniel…from ‘Maracatu Brasil’ who taught him Bossa nova and Afro samba guitar techniques. He also had percussion classes in Olinda, Pernambuco learning Maracatu rhythms and Orixa stick rhythms with master drummer ‘Neninho’.
On returning to England he joined forces with ‘Baila la Cumbia’ fronting the 12 piece cumbia band , which featured some of the top latin players of the south west. They also played Glastonbury two years running as well as doing gigs around the country.
Meanwhile his own solo show ‘Lacuna’ also doubled up as a three piece, playing at festivals such as ‘Into the wild’, ‘Wildheart, ‘Sunrise’, ‘Green gathering’, ‘Buddhafield’.
His collaborative projects over the years have involved a recording project with Senegalese singer ‘Batch Gueye’ (an album will be released in the next year), Omer Makessa (previously in Mankala), Huayquy Ocean (Peruvian musician/activist). Attab Haddad (a British born Iraqui oud player), Julian Segura (Colombian band leader) Indira Roman (Cuban singer/ Aji Pa’ Ti). Ivan Moreno (Spanish percussionist/vocalist). Chongo de Colombia (Percussionist from Colombia with Sidestepper). Ze Kouyate (Brazilian percussionist/ composer and kamelongoni player). Folk singer Carrie Tree. Guitarist and kora player Ravi.