Human Chain

Human Chain

Human Chain is a UK band led by composer and keyboard virtuoso Django Bates.


In 1981 Django rehearsed a band called Humans which originated as a duo with drummer [Steve Argüelles] .Around 1983 the name changed to Human Chain. The duo that recorded the album titled 'Human Chain' in 1986.

Whilst recording "Cashin' In" in 198?, Human Chain called upon multi-stringed instrumentalist Stuart Hall (musician) to augment the group's sound possibilities. "During performances in this trio formation, Stuart Hall would often make three instrument changes per tune, sometimes playing steel pan and piccolo flute simultaneously whilst unplugging a violin with his foot"! Oct 1990 saw the last Loose Tubes gig. Says Django, "With Loose Tubes gone, it was time to stand up and sing out with my own music. Needing a small group and an orchestral group to do this, I created the 19 piece Delightful Precipice and set about sorting out Human Chain".

Just before a Human Chain tour of South America in Sept 91, Bassist Tim Harries dropped out to tour with Steeleye Span instead. Django decided to try someone he'd never worked with before: Michael Mondesir. "I drove to Lewisham to hear him playing with Jason Rebello. It was a really funky band and gave no clues as to what Michael would do to Human Chain's music. By the end of our tour,I knew... and I was very happy!" Michael has an infectious fascination with all things rhythmic: he chewed through pieces like 'Three Architects Called Gabrielle... Just What I expected' with an extreme verve and assurance that forced the whole band to perform at a new level of energy".

Fresh from the South American trip this Human Chain, with Steve Buckley on Sax and Martin France on Drums, was documented on a CD called 'Pyrotechnics'. We recorded "Three Architects..." and "Up, Up". All the musicians on this sampler were promised a deal with Blue Note.

By '92 the line-up settled as a quartet comprising Django (Keyboards, Eb Horn), Iain Ballamy (Saxophones), Michael Mondesir (Electric Bass), and Martin France (Drums, Electric Percussion). The group often performs with singer Josefine Lindstrand, sometimes with the alternative band name of Quiet Nights.

Human Chain have played in Japan, New York, and China. They've created the innovative music-theatre piece 'Out There' with Campbell Graham, disrupted Orchestras from the London Sinfonietta to the Duisberger Philharmonic.

The Human Chain has been linked from 1981-2004 thus:Django
Dave Trigwell,
John Eacott,
Mark Lockhart,
Mick Hutton,
Steve Berry,
Eddie Parker,
John Parricelli,
Steve Argüelles,
Stuart Hall,
Steve Buckley,
Steve Watts,
Tim Harries,
Martin France,
Michael Mondesir,
Iain Ballamy,
Laurence Cottle,
Julian Seigel,
Julian Arguelles, and
Gary Husband.

Human Chain formed the backbone to Bates' most recent album You Live and Learn. They are joined by singer Josephine Lindstrand, The Smith Quartet and guests including David Sanborne and Jim Mullen.

Human Chain has performed in Europe, North America, South America, Japan, China, and India. Human Chain has worked in the orchestral world for concerts in Finland, Germany, Greece, and a tour of England with Britten Sinfonia. The Smith Quartet appeared alongside Human Chain at the Venice Biennale in 2003.

Human Chain toured in South America, including dates in Chile, Colombia and Argentina in 1991; and in 1992 played at a number of festivals in Europe including the Belfast International Festival, the Delta International Jazz Festival in the Hague in Holland and the Outside In International Contemporary Music Festival in Crawley. Human Chain has recorded two albums "Human Chain" and "Cashin' In", and contributed two tracks to an EMI record "Pyrotechnics".


*"Human Chain" Ah-Um 002
*"Cashin' In"
*"Pyrotechnics" Blue Note 700659
*"Summer Fruits" JMT 514 008-2
*"Winter Truce" JMT 514 023-2

Many tracks on: "Summer Fruits (and unrest)" on Winter and Winter 2005."Winter Truce (and homes blaze)" on Winter and Winter 2005.

They are also playing alongside the London Sinfonietta on "Good Evening... Here is the News" Argo ?????"Quiet Nights" screwu 70007"You Live and Learn..." (apparently) Lost Marble LM001


* "Jazz On 3" - Django Bates' Human Chain. BBC RADIO 3 15/07/2005

* "Front Row". Django Bates talks about his first album in 6 years "You Live and Learn (Apparently)". BBC Radio Four 28/06/2004

* "Jazz on 3". Human Chain at London's Vortex Club. BBC RADIO 3 21/9/2001

* "Jazz on 3". Cheltenham Jazz Festival Django Bates' Human Chain with , Josefine Cronholm, Stian Carstensen, Michael Mondesir, Martin France and Paul Clarvis. BBC RADIO 3 24/4/1999

* "Live from London". Chat show features music from Django Bates' Human Chain - Horses in the Rain. BBC Radio Four 27/03/1999

* "In Tune". ...including Django Bates: Candles Still Flicker. Human Chain, London Sinfonietta / Diego Masson. BBC RADIO 3 1/5/1997

* "Jazz Notes". Django Bates joins the BBC Big Band to perform a selection of his most recent compositions for his own group, Delightful Precipice, including the first UK performance of `Rest and Be Thankful'. With Iain Ballamy (saxophones). RADIO 3 16/5/1996.

* "Jazz at the Bath Festival". Human Chain (Django Bates, Iain Ballamy, Stuart Hall, Martin France with pianist Joanna MacGregor. MacGregor plays solo in pieces by Nancarrow, Cowell, Ligeti and Rzewski. 10/7/1993

* "Outside In Festival". 11/02/1992

Media Quotes

"The music's commitment, spontaneity and intensity gave us a feeling of being witnesses to the very moment of creation"Politiken, Denmark 1993"This is modern ensemble playing of the highest calibre, contemporary composition at its most vital" The Guardian 2000


* [ Human Chain bio at]

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