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Jul 14, 2018

Jon Bickley hosts a session with John & Mary Maw, classically trained musicians with a love of folk & roots music.

John studied violin & viola at the Royal Academy of Music (London). After graduation he opted to become a violin bow maker later moving on to commercial photography. Nowadays his instruments of choice are octave mandola and cigar box guitar. He is a member of the London Mandolin Ensemble, a small chamber orchestra with a repertoire covering a wide range of classical music. Over the years John has honed his instrument building skills and has created a number of unique instruments including the guitar he plays on this session. He is an expert slide player generating eerie tones from his cigar box model utilising his own blue 'Harveys Bristol Cream' bottleneck.

Mary currently plays cello (using a bow made by John) with the West London Sinfonia and is also trained on piano. She has accompanied many singers and has been part of various choirs. On this session she has left the instrumental duties to John so she can concentrate on the songs. She has come to traditional folk singing relatively recently and is accompanied by John's mandola or cigar box slide guitar.

For further information please visit John Maw's Facebook page at or send us a message via the 'Contacts' page on