JARISEL is a group of four Oxford musicians who got together during Covid to try out a few songs. One thing led to another and now they are an established group with a growing reputation. Their unique renditions of songs and tunes both old and original vibrate with colour and imagination.
Jacqueline Johnson, cello and accordion. Australian born, Jacqui is classically trained, and on emigrating to England quickly became established as a soloist and chamber musician. Well known in Oxford for her performances of all the major cello concerti she is in great demand also as a teacher. Some years ago she joined the folk group Moonrakers with whom she plays regularly and also teaches on workshops. Her skill and imaginative bass lines demonstrate her love and understanding of folk music.
Arne Richards, keyboards, accordion. A harpsichordist, organist and composer, from his early widely acclaimed Wigmore Hall debut Arne soon developed a high profile as a performing artist. It was with the formation of his highly successful group The Oxford Concert Party, Europe’s only Baroque and Tango Orchestra, which has toured the UK and Europe, where he honed his skills as an arranger of music from many genres, particularly Celtic and Latin American. It is these skills that he brings to JARISEL.
Isabel Knowland, violin, Hardanger fiddle, viola. Isabel trained at The Royal Academy of Music and spent her early professional career as a freelance orchestral player. In 1991 she met Arne Richards and together they formed The Oxford Concert Party with an eclectic repertoire ranging from Bach and Vivaldi to music from Ireland, Scotland, Eastern Europe, France and Argentina. Isabel was brought up in Ireland by music-loving parents, and from early childhood was steeped in Irish folk music, song and dance, together with a love of folk music from many parts of the world.
Elena Piras, vocals, guitar, bodhran. Elena was born in Sardinia and inherited her love of singing from her father. When she moved to England aged 18 she quickly became established in the folk scene, known for her beautiful natural voice. In London she co-founded and toured with the successful London Bulgarian Choir. She then spent some years in Shetland where she learned to speak Gallic and became an expert in Gallic song, winning many awards such as the Girvan Folk Festival Open Stage Competition and the Margot Campbell Trophy. Elena is now established as one of Oxford’s leading folk singers.