Jez Hellard and the Djukella Orchestra - Direct from the Shire

Top  About Jez Hellard

Jez Hellard is a singer of potent songs, fine guitarist and simply stunning harmonica player. His band, The Djukella Orchestra, play traditional and contemporary folk music, from jigs, reels and ballads to tango, rhumba and even reggae. Featuring one of the most captivating double-bassists you`re likely to see and some of the finest instrumentalists on the UK folk scene, their blend of virtuoso musicianship, witty political comment and a deep repertoire of powerful songs never fails to turn heads. Since hitting the road full time in 2005, Jez has played well over a thousand gigs; from the Glastonbury Festival to the North Country Fair, New York to Taipei, Istanbul to the Iberian Peninsular, gaining fans far and wide.

“Ridiculously enjoyable… an unequivocal thumbs up.” Folk Radio UK
“Beautifully crafted and stunningly delivered… a staggering jigsaw of musical invention and a sonorous voice that drags you into every song.”

As a harmonica player, he`s renowned as an adept improviser in most styles of music and loves to be put on the spot, either on stage or in the studio.

Posted: 1st Feb 2012 | Contact


Top  Current Projects

Touring extensively in the UK, Canada, East Asia, Germany, The Netherlands and the Balkans, Jez performs solo, as a duo with London Irish/Basque fiddle maestro James Patrick Gavin and with his band, The Djukella Orchestra, featuring a fine batch of fiendish fiddlers including Julie Rands-Allen and Alastair Caplin, the formidable double-bassist, Nye Parsons, and renowned Macedonian Accordionist, Jordan Kostov, amongst other talented players. When there`s time Jez also tours with Prairie Balladeer, Scott Cook, the sublime luthier/song-writer, Nathan Ball, his sometime twin, Gareth Austin, Cardiff pub-church legends, JC`s Hopeless Sinners , anarchist folksters, Firepit Collective, the righteous reggae of Avalon Roots, the folk-hop of political pop-star Billy Rowan (The Undercover Hippy), and a host of other acts.

In Canada he`s performed and recorded with virtuoso fiddler Cam Neufeld, caramel toned troubador, Scott Cook, and veteran Ukulele master Maurice Jones, to name but a few, and in the Balkans with The Djukella Orkestra, Kalevala, and various gypsy brass orchestras.

As a freelance harmonica player, he plays with a variety of acts from reggae to bluegrass, Celtic to Jazz, and is always happy to broaden the repertoire.

Posted: 8th Dec 2009 | Contact


Top  What People Say

“Jez has the type of voice that impels you to listen. An unequivocal thumbs up. Ridiculously enjoyable… booking them a place amongst the best of celtic string arrangements.” Folk Radio UK

“It’s heartening to hear such thoughtful yet deeply felt songs, given the times we live in now. To hear them so well sung, so adroitly arranged and brilliantly performed is a joy.” Songlines

“Unclassifiable their music may be, but excellent it most certainly is. The results are captivating. A superb set.” R2 Magazine

" It is a rambunctious triumph of an album in which the energy never fades." -

"If you take your folk infusion wide, varied and without restraint then you’re going to love this. Jump in and let the current sweep you along." - Dan Holland, Folkwords Magazine

"Jez Hellard demonstrated that playing harmonica is a full on body experience...With fans across 3 continents, It was easy to see and hear what all the hullaballoo was about." - Earshot Magazine, Canada

"While I was expecting good things, I wasn`t expecting anything quite so ridiculously good as this." Moles - UK

"Playing music with Jez and Nye is like playing catch with someone who never drops the ball." - Maurice Jones

Posted: 5th Nov 2009 | Contact


Top  On Record

The new Djukella Orchestra live album, D`rect from the Shire, is recorded, mastered and heading to the factory. It features the sublime double-bass playing of Nye Parsons and the combined fiddling prowess of James Patrick Gavin and Alastair Caplin, as well as Dominic Henderson and Tommie Black-Roff on pipes and accordion respectively. In my humble opinion it`s the best thing we`ve recorded, and will be released in the first week of November with a run of gigs, followed by a tour of Scotland in early December.

"Heavy Wood" (2016) is Jez Hellard & The Djukella Orchestra`s most recent studio album, and is widely acknowledged as a tour de force.

“Beautifully crafted and stunningly delivered… a staggering jigsaw of musical invention and a sonorous voice that drags you into every song. If ‘Heavy Wood’ doesn’t place Jez Hellard & The Djukella Orchestra among the leaders of contemporary folk then whoever in this world is responsible for seeing that justice is done, clearly isn’t on the case.”

“I have run out of superlatives to describe `Heavy Wood`, so all I can do is encourage everyone to get a copy and partake of the full experience!” The Rock Society

“Unclassifiable their music may be, but excellent it most certainly is. The results are captivating. A superb set.” R2 Magazine

“For an outfit that, I suspect, will be new to a lot of potential listeners, it really is astonishingly good.”
Living Tradition

"Live on the Ley" (2015), a recording of a house-concert recorded at St. Dunstan`s house in Glastonbury and featuring Jez, Nye, and Alastair along with Canadian songwriter Scott Cook and Wookey Hole Luthier Nathan Ball was released in June 2015 and continues to receive fine reviews. Featuring a twenty-page lyric book replete with original artwork and beautiful photography, it`s a glowing record of a magical evening.

"Blood & Honey" (2012), the debut album from Jez Hellard & The Djukella Orchestra, has continued to receive glowing reviews and sell steadily. Recorded between Macedonia, England and Canada, the album features songs and tunes from the band`s wide repertoire with stella performances from Nye Parsons (double bass), Zoe Moffat and Cam Neufeld (fiddles) and Jordan Kostov (accordion). Mixed by Steve Potier at The Hive, Glastonbury and mastered by Gaz Williams at Fliskin Manor Studios, Bristol.

From 2004 to 2009 Jez worked with Canadian group, the Dana Wylie Band, co-producing and playing guitar, harmonicas and drums on the albums, "Almost There..." (UK - 2006), and "The Unruly Ones" (Canada - 2008), both of which received glowing reviews in the Canadian press and extensive play on speciality radio stations across the country, charting on several occasions.

Jez also appears on the following albums:

Jay Terrestrial`s Fire Pit Collective - To the Lost (UK - 2015)
Stacey Cohen - The Archer (UK - 2015)
The Undercover Hippy - "Monkey Suit" Album (UK - 2014) and "Why We Fight" EP (UK-2011)
JC`s Hopeless Sinners` "Let It Shine" (UK - 2014)
Scott Cook`s critically acclaimed "One More Time Around" (2012) and "This One`s on the House" (Canada - 2009)
Rum Buffalo Debut EP (UK - 2012)
The Supercalas`"Life in an English Market Town" (UK - 2010)
Kalevala`s "Live in Skopje" (Macedonia - 2009)

Posted: 5th Nov 2009 | Contact


Top  Influences

Most particularly: Keith Neville, Micky Johnson, John Coltrane, Leon Rosselson, Rory Mcleod, Scott Cook, Victor Jara, Eric Dolphy, Cam Neufeld, Charles Mingus, Michelle Shocked, Kalevala, Richard Thompson, Robin Williamson, John Langan, Sly and the Family Stone, Sara Cvetanovska, Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, KRS-1, Stanley Crouch, Sublime, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Louis DeBerniers, Dana Wylie, Matthew Ord, Maurice Jones, Jim Clarke and Gareth Austin.

Posted: 4th Nov 2009 | Contact