Francesca Knowles

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    Multi-instrumentalist based in the North East of England, who performs and records primarily on drum kit, with additional skills and experience on keys, percussion and backing vocals. Undergraduate music degree at University of Leeds (2009-2012) and MA in Ethnomusicology at the University of Sheffield (2014). Drum kit and piano teacher, workshop leader, performer, session musician, and drummer in international touring street theatre show ‘Spark!’ in 2014-2023. One half of accordion-percussion duo Amy Thatcher and Francesca Knowles, she is also live and/or recording drummer with Ceitidh Mac, Ruth Lyon, Grace Petrie, Beccy Owen & the Refuge, and Jodie Nicholson. Additionally she does frequent live dep work (recent work has included Rob Heron & the Teapad Orchestra and The Baghdaddies) and is available for tours, recording sessions and R&D projects nationwide.

    In May 2021 Fran received funding from Arts Council England to develop her creative practice as an instrumental composer, arranger and ensemble leader. In 2022-23 she was one of 6 artists commissioned by Manchester Jazz Festival as part of their ‘hothouse’ development programme, and in early 2023 she participated in a residency for collaborative improvisation led by Nubya Garcia and the Manchester music charity Brighter Sound. Alongside her current live and studio projects she is working on a solo EP of original music set for release in 2024.