Although small for her size Jo started off her musical career as a marching band playing both sousaphone and answerphone. She was later dissuaded from marching around as the sight of such large instruments apparently playing and moving on their own upset people. The mismatch of player and instrument was finally brought into sharp focus when Jo was mistaken as part of the mouth piece on one of her tubas, which surprised both her and the sneaky rascal who attempted to play a trill. Jo now plays trumpet with so many bands that she often loses some of them in her music folder.
Martyn started playing the violin at the age of seven, and, fingers strengthened by years of goat milking, initially showed great promise. After the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004, he realised that he would never play as well as Nicola Benedetti, so concentrated on the sax. His career has stumbled on meteorically since joining the Soul Traders in 2009. Favourite colour blue, favourite fruit raspberry (one of your five a day).
Kay Octigan, the youngest of eight sisters called Kay, was born in a fly blown shanty amongst the steamy boondocks North of The Watford Gap.
Kay spent her earliest days hanging with the old blues men and Bourbon Jazzers of the Tin pans and yard stoops in her neighbourhood, here it was soon discovered that Kay could smell a harmony at ninety paces. Although uncommonly clumsy Kay became a child star lauded for her solo harmonies and improvised Kazoo anthems.
At the age of ten Kay was sold into the dark and seedy world of choral singing where she survived twenty one years of hell through a mixture of practising her technique for kazoo based brain soothing and by breaking things.
Kay likes to borrow Dave the saxophonist's hair straighteners when he's not looking.
Matt started singing at a young age by harmonising with his Mum's pull down hairdryer. He grew up listening to soul music and when he reached 19 joined his first band, Rude Mood. He played the Nottingham Blues scene with the band before moving on to be lead singer in a Deep Purple tribute band… his 'Child in Time' is something to behold. Matt moved to Devon in 1998 and joined Soul Traders a year later. He has been with the band through thick and thin, sickness and health. In 2009 he was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue, at that point he was unsure if he would ever speak properly again, let alone sing. After a major operation, radiotherapy and a good recovery period he started to sing tentatively. A year later he gave his first performance, improving each time and here he is back in fine voice. In 2011 he spent an enjoyable Christmas in pantomime at Torquay's 'Princess Theatre' acting & singing alongside Lisa Riley; but his first love is still singing when backed by a 'power' band.
Played tenor sax with 'Wainwrights Gentlemen' throughout the period that Ian Gillan (Deep Purple vocalist) was with the band. Then moved to 'Jean & the Statesmen' (3 records on the Columbia label). Played Tenor sax in Wilson Pickett's backing band when Wilson toured the UK in the late 60's. Joined 'The Statesides', a 'support' band for many of the visiting American soul artistes and UK chart topping pop groups in the late 60's and early 70's. These included Stevie Wonder, The Kinks, The Who, Georgie Fame, P J Proby, Manfred Mann, Brenda Lee, Chris Farlowe, Cliff Bennett, Sounds Incorporated, Heinz and dozens of others that had records in the charts. From early 70's spent many years playing sax in Irish Show bands, playing USAF bases, touring Ireland & the UK.
Sax influences: King Curtis, Clarence Clemons, Boots Randolph, Kenny G and all the rock n'roll, soul, raucous 'Honky Tonk' players.
Inspired by music none of his band members have heard of, Ben has been making a racket since 2007 and has no plans of stopping.
As fate would have it, watching Soul Traders at Tiverton's New Hall in late 2019 would be his first and last gig as a punter before being lured in to be their next drummer.
*Any faces pulled during performance are due to an tremendous amount of self restraint to not over play the songs*
Viv was born into a musical family. She perfected playing the oboe at an early age and sang in junior and senior operatic productions until the rise of fascism forced her and her family to flee to the relative safety of the Swiss Alps. From there they walked to Tiverton where The Soul Traders took the family in. Viv is sometimes responsible for the shape of the band's heads and quite likes older men.
The thing that binds the Soul Traders together is our mutual love of music. We have a very diverse repertoire, showcasing the breadth of diversity within our ranks. At the core of our catalogue, some of the finest northern soul there is to be had (as hinted at in the name). Thrown in alongside, a touch of funk and just a tad of good ol' fashioned bebop, blues and rock 'n' roll. You can expect a mixture of superbly executed piano riffs, a heaped helping of pumping bass licks, ear tinglingly grooving percussion, some smooth strumming of the ol' six string and some of the finest trumpet blowing and driving saxophones there is to be had. Weave into this supreme musical mix a cornucopia of the most supremely talented singers there is to be seen for miles around, tying a grand virtuosic bow around the package that is The Soul Traders.