Mauricio Velasierra is one of the worlds’ most consummate players of traditional Andean flutes. Probably the only musician in the world to be able to play the kena as a fully chromatic instrument, this has allowed him to develop a truly original musical language. With influences ranging from African music to jazz, his compositions are a rich mixture of largely unexplored Andean rhythms combined with contemporary melodies and harmonies.

From the first pvc plastic kena that he bought as a seven year-old in the San Alejo market in Medellín, Colombia, Mauricio was fascinated by the melody-led beauty of traditional Andean music. Entirely self-taught on the kena and sikus, his childhood and teen years living in Medellín were spent immersed in that music. He has studied instrument making at the London Guildhall University and has carried out extensive research in both construction and technique allowing him to explore other musical styles and ideas. Most of the flutes he plays he has made himself.

In 1991, aged 17, Mauricio left Medellín for London, where he has lived intermittently during the last seventeen years. It was in London that he first became interested in other musical genres and started to explore Jazz and the music of Zimbabwe and West Africa. This disciplined exploration has allowed him to truly understand the African element of Afro-Andean rhythms and perfect his natural talent for improvisation.

Over the last decade he has worked for and collaborated with a range of jazz and world musicians including Chartwell Dutiro, Zoe Rahman and John Williams as well as working on his own collaborative projects such as Truba and Klektivo. ‘Stories of I’ is Mauricio’s debut project as a band leader and drawn entirely from original compositions.