John Chandler took up the guitar at 16 and was particularly inspired by Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, whose instrumentals he played in UK folk clubs in his home town of Liverpool in the 60s and 70s. John was a member of the legendary ‘Les Cousins’ Club in London’s Soho where Bert frequently played and went there whenever his studies at Liverpool University allowed. He created and played at a folk club in Liverpool with Jude Kelly, now director of the WOW Foundation. Since then he has become better known as a performer of traditional Irish music, as a soloist, an accompanist, and in bands and seisiúns. In 2003, John founded and chairs the annual Liverpool Irish Festival.
A piece by Davey Graham played by John Chandler for Bert Jansch
John says: “Bert was a huge influence on my guitar playing. I started my music career in the mid-1960s playing his version of Anji and other instrumentals around folk clubs in Liverpool. My guitar stayed firmly in its case though, on the only occasion when we actually rubbed shoulders, in Les Cousins in 1967. (He got closer to my wife, before I met her, when Pentangle we’re drowning their sorrows in her Bristol hotel bar after their instruments were stolen. He asked her to marry him but she, probably wisely, turned him down!) I hope I am experienced enough by now, to do justice to Anji in honour of Bert.”
John balances making music with a career in managing services for children and families. He firmly reconnected with Bert’s music at John Renbourn’s Gilwell Park 2014, Bert themed, residential workshop. (Some of John’s photos are on the Bert Jansch Foundation home page re that event). He had arranged for John Renbourn to come to perform at the Liverpool Irish Festival but, sadly that wasn’t to be.