Machan
Listen to "When I get to the border
 ABOUT US
'Machan' is a duo formed in 2015 by two friends, John Mannel and John Clachan.
 
They started playing and singing together in 2003, performing as the ‘Riotous Brothers’ in pubs around the Epsom area, playing covers of their favourite ‘pop’ songs and building up a strong, local following in the process. But, they have always had huge empathy and affection for traditional and contemporary acoustic music, from the U.K. & America too, and decided on 'Machan' as the platform from which to present their favourite songs from this musical genre.
 
The musical format quickly fell into place with their distinctive, individual vocals and fine harmony singing taking centre stage and the mix of guitar and Irish bouzouki making an unusual but effective accompaniment. Flute, harmonica and assorted recorders also feature throughout, adding light and shade to each performance.
 
As followers of the Riotous Brothers will readily confirm, both Johns thoroughly enjoy ‘live’ performance and readily engage an audience with anecdotes and repartee. Many of the songs have choruses and refrains for the audience to join in if they wish.
 
Machan's material is selected from a huge musical palette and takes in traditional and contemporary songs from England, Ireland, Scotland and America. A glance at some of their favourite contemporary songwriters might give you a clue to the sort of non- traditional material you will hear at a gig – Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, Steve Knightley, Jez Lowe, Tim O’Brien, David Olney, Oysterband, Richard Thompson and Geraint Watkins to name but a few!
JC and JM playing at one of their favourite venues
 
- The Railway Guard in Epsom 
History 
John Clachan
 
JC's early musical roots were 1960's pop and, through the 70's, The Moody Blues, Deep Purple, Yes, Genesis and Dire Straits (in that order!). He began going to folk clubs, with his wife Chris, in the early 1980's; she encouraged him to sing at them and he later became a resident singer at The Greyhound club in Thames Ditton, which moved to The Hand & Spear in Weybridge and eventually became the well known Ram club, then based at the Foley Arms, Claygate.
 
He sang mainly unaccompanied, traditional material at the folk clubs and also played recorder in the 'Knock-Kneed Bumblebee' barn dance band for many years, taking up the Irish flat back bouzouki to play rhythm for the band in the late 1980's.
 
He also began using the bouzouki to accompany his own singing, eventually joining up with old mate 'Dave Illingworth' to form the duo 'Old Friends'. Throughout the 1990's they played folk venues all over the south-east of England, before calling it a day when John's work commitments increased.
 
With a widening solo repertoire, which now included contemporary folk songs as well as the more traditional material, John also performed solo at folk clubs during the decade.
 
JC and JM's paths had crossed a number of times when JM ran the Robin Hood folk club in Sutton. They both independently thought it would be a good idea to play music together and, after a short musical break for JC, they met for a session and surprised themselves by choosing 60's and 70's pop music over other genres. They formed the 'Riotous Brothers' in 2003 and, after 13 years and over 200 gigs, are still going strong (as at 2016!)
 
As well as 'live' performance, JC also enjoys studio work and recording on his home 'Roland VS-1680' digital workstation, the results of which can be found on a number of CDs produced over the years. Some selected recordings being:
ASH 004 - Old Dog, New Tricks (2000) 
ASH 006 - Tales To Tell (2011)
ASH 008 - One Man's Freedom (2014)  
Dave Illingworth and John C. on stage in 'Old Friends'
John C's home
recording corner!
The 'Knock-Kneed Bumblebee Band' in action 
John Mannel

JM’s first love was the pub rock scene in the 70’s and 80’s. Favourite bands were Jabba (every Saturday at The Two Brewers in Clapham), Juice on the Loose, Basil’s Balls-up Band, Alias Ron Kavana, Hank Wangford and the wonderful Balham Alligators. A visit to the Bracknell Folk Festival in 1978 initiated a lifelong love of folk music. Visits to The Fighting Cocks in Kingston cemented this love. (This was where JM first met Katherine – 30th wedding anniversary now imminent!). A regular at the Battersea Folk Club, acoustic music became a passion. With Geoff Chapman and Mike Artes, John ran the Sutton Acoustic Music Club at The Robin Hood. This was where live performance first started, accompanying songs on the harmonica.

With a fellow teacher, John formed The Rhythmatics. This featured JM on guitar and vocals and Ralph Williams on piano. They played for several years in pubs around Epsom (and The Boot in Weymouth).

Bringing a love of music into teaching Maths, John has written and recorded many songs to help secure Mathematical understanding. These can be found on youtube by searching "mannel's maths music".

Having seen JC playing with “Old Friends” over the years, it seemed right to get together to see what happened. It was obvious from the very first song together that it was a perfect match, and The Riotous Brothers were formed.

JM goes to the Whitby Folk Week every year, and always comes home enthused once again with folk music. After twelve years of playing together, a tentative step towards playing some songs and tunes in the folk tradition was attempted. This really took off and it soon became clear that this new direction was a must. Machan was formed, and a few spots at the Epsom Common Club sessions with The Rusty Rovers confirmed that Machan was here to stay.

 
 
John M. is a fine magician and
can make a £20 note disappear in the blink of an eye!
                                                     The Kazoo fights back!!
Advertising the Riotous
Brothers 2009 world tour
of Epsom
John M. joins 'Old Friends' at the
Robin Hood folk club in the mid
1980's.