Grow Playlist – Keiyona

Grow Playlist – Keiyona

December strikes again. If I had to summarise my year in one word I think challenging would probably be the best fit – but, because of this I’ve learned, I’ve grown and I’ve accomplished. As December is the month of reflection and celebration, I’ve selected a truly remarkable album to accompany your mindful thoughts and if you read November’s Grow Playlist, then you’ll likely notice a slight theme…Nevertheless, it’s an exceptional suite of compositions that you may want to give some attention to. We continue into the saga of “Jazz (hygge) season” with a dreamy album called ‘Keiyona’ from Birmingham-based collective, Tephra. The band, consisting of 6 young adults studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, came together to record Keiyona in late 2018, after Trombonist and Producer, Joe Carnell, presented the idea to the collective. An Exeter boy from birth, Joe explained,

“I felt that Keiyona was an important album to make for me, as it was a way of immortalising in music, memories that I don’t ever want to leave me”

in the process of starting his new venture in Birmingham. 

keiyona album cover

Catching up with Joe has been such a treat as he bears real initiative amongst the talent and drive. He talked about his record label “iola”, which Keiyona was released on, in October this year, adding that

“The idea (of iola) is that we can create a community for music lovers and musicians to just enjoy music. Sometimes I feel that we, as musicians, can lose sight of the reason why we play music and I’d like to bring a bit of this back, for myself as much as anyone”.

Still in its early days, iola has already released 2 albums and holds ambitious plans for future activities such as an artist spotlight podcast and house concerts that will later be released on digital platforms for everyone to enjoy.

As if Joe’s plans with iola weren’t enough, he and the Tephra collective plan to release a whopping 5 albums over the course of the next year (one including an orchestra for Joe’s final year major project!), plus a limited 2020 UK tour with the intention to head down to the South West. Querying Joe’s thoughts on Devon’s music scene, he exchanged some truthful words.

“There are some phenomenal musicians who live and work in the area, but I think sometimes because of where it is geographically, people tend to disregard it.”

Carnell’s post-uni plan is to move to various European countries to study music further, but emphatically adds

“I’ll end up back in Devon sooner or later though, it has a kind of inevitable pull to it”.

Tephra is Steve Saunders (guitar), Stella Roberts (piano/keyboards), Jonno Gaze (drums), Matt Hollick (basses), Mike Anning (saxophones) and Joe Carnell (Trombone). 

You can find more information and music online through Tephra’s record label “iola” at

If you’d like to be the Grow Playlist feature of the month, pop me an email You can keep up to date with my Spotify playlist “GROW FEATURES”.

Written by Becky Grinham
Featured image sourced via Unsplash

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