Award: Do it Differently Fund

Year: 2020

Genre: Alternative

Instrument/voice type: String Quartet

Location: North West


Formed in 2015, Amika are becoming known for their versatility and ”soul-drenched” sound (Downbeat Magazine). Amika are a string quartet, formed organically over a number of years by four graduates of Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music. All four members are practised chamber musicians who can frequently be heard in ensembles in concert halls and festivals across the UK and beyond. Amika was formed in response to a wind of change in a rapidly diversifying music industry, where the dissolving of boundaries between genres offered an opportunity to use the consummate vehicle of the String Quartet in a new and novel way.

Amika aim to fuse the craft of string quartet playing, finessed over hundreds of years, with contemporary techniques and approaches. This has brought about exciting programmes for quartet alone as well as a host of collaborations. Amika are in demand in the studio, and have recorded with artists such as Jordan Rakei, Alfa Mist, Poppy Ajudha, Alice Zawadzki, Stuart McCallum, Mike Walker, The Breath, Natalie Williams, Kirsty Almeida, Pete Lee, and Junior Alli Balogun. Their live gigs are equally diverse and span working with BBC Generation Artist and jazz guitarist Rob Luft, to Brit Award 2019 British Breakthrough Act winner and singer/songwriter Tom Walker. The cutting-edge UK Jazz scene in particular has fostered this culture of creative exchange and Amika have performed at the Manchester, London and Cambridge Jazz Festivals as well as London’s PizzaExpress Jazz Clubs in Soho and Holborn and Ronnie Scott’s.

Amika draw influence from a wide range of music, reflecting the breadth of their musical interests and extensive training. Flexibility and creative potential are the biggest drivers in the quartet’s work; from Purcell’s wild harmonies to Britten ingenuous textures and the captivating rhythms of Bartok, Amika plumb the depths of classical music and combine it with other genres to create an elastic musical language which continues to grow along with the ensemble. Improvisation has been a central part of the quartet’s work from the beginning, and they incorporate this into live shows and recordings alike. More recently, Amika have increasingly worked together to create arrangements and original compositions which reflect their evolution as an ensemble so far.

Outside of Amika, Simmy, Laura, Lucy and Peggy perform with ensembles such as the Eblana String Trio, Manchester Collective, and Camerata Alma Viva. All four are passionate about education and teach in a range of settings spanning from conservatoire to voluntary outreach work.
Help Musicians’ support will allow us to create content showing what we do and who we are, through the recording and production of two live videos and a mini-doc. This project has arisen from the desire to showcase the many layers of our quartet’s work, including composition, arrangement and improvisation.