Based: Cape Town
John Wizards might have started in Maputo. It also might have started in Cape Town. It certainly owes a debt to Dar es Salaam. These are the three places that band leader and producer John Withers has either travelled through or lived in, and have had a marked influence on his musical output. They also happen to be cities in which Emmanuel Nzaramba, John Wizards’ Rwandan singer, has lived too.
John met Emmanuel while he was working as a car guard outside a coffee shop in Cape Town. Emmanuel noticed the guitar strapped to John’s back and they began to talk about music. Emmanuel had moved from Rwanda to Cape Town to become a musician, and luckily John was in need of some vocals for the music he had been writing. They didn’t get around to recording that time: Emmanuel quit his job, lost his cellphone and moved to a new place, and the two lost contact.
A year later, in 2012, John had moved house and got together some new songs and by
chance ran into Emmanuel again; they were living in the same street. John invited him
to his place to listen to reggae band The Congos. Emmanuel wasn’t a fan, but he was
impressed by some of the new songs John had written. He would listen to them once
or twice and start singing. The outcome of these evenings can be heard on their debut
John has since gathered together an ensemble of friends to help translate these songs
into an eclectic live show.
#8 on Guardian UK top 10 albums of the year – 2013
Supported Jagwar Ma on their 2013 (United Kingdom)
Simple Things Festival 2013 (United Kingdom)
Boiler Room 2013 (United Kingdom)
Rough Trade 2013 (United Kingdom)
Field Day Festival 2014 (United Kingdom)
Worldwide Festival 2014 (France)
Primavera 2014 (Barcelona)
Glastonbury 2014 (United Kingdom)
Worldwide Festival 2014 (Sete)
Dimensions Festival 2014 (Croatia)
Bestival 2014 (Isle Of Wight)