Master pianist, Tshepe Tshepela, hails from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He started in music and vocals in his church choir until as a teenager he left the choir to concentrate on his chosen instrument, the piano. His influences included piano players from a wide variety of genres, including French jazz pianist, Michel Petrucciani, Oscar Peterson and many others.
Together with other church-based musicians, Tshepe went on to open a small music studio and was asked to record music by the leader of Bana OK, a band which emerged from several members of the renowned Congolese band, Franco & TPOK Jazz. This led to him joining the band and touring as their keyboard player. Over the subsequent five years Tshepe played with the band in Congo Brazzaville and then travelled to Europe, the band playing Soukous – an update of traditional Congolese dance music.
Moving to the UK, Tshepe decided to pursue a more formal musical education. He studied Jazz composition at Birmingham University, and more recently, music technology at the University of Salford. Alongside standing in for band members, he has now produced over 20 albums for different African musicians and regularly plays in the Amani Creatives Collective in Manchester as well as supporting African singers. His long-term ambition is to establish a music and sound academy back home in DR Congo.
Through Lingua Franca he has performed at Manchester Jazz Festival and the Bridgewater Hall. Book Tshepe as a solo pianist, an accompanist to singers or as part of a larger band.