Horace X formed in 1993, combining Mark's infectious dance rhythms with Eastern European fiddle tunes. They played their first gig soon after, sharing a bill with virtuoso Bulgarian jazzer, Ivo Papasov, and went on to play a host of festivals, including Glastonbury Jazz World stage, the following summer.
Since then they have appeared at festivals and venues in the UK, Europe and Canada including:

Montreal Jazz Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Toronto Harbourfront, Sidmouth International Festival, Glastonbury Jazz World, Avalon and Club Stages, Megadog Total Eclipse, Cambridge Folk Festival, Exodus, Blackhorse Festival, Melkweg World Roots, Terschelling's Oerel, Towersey, Strawberry Fair, Aberdeen Alternative Festival, Phoenix:Turning up the Beat, Fleche D'Or Paris, Rock'n'Solex, Orange WOW, Black Horse Festival, Off the Tracks, On the Edge, Big Day Out, Bracknell Festival, Penybryn Seswyn Fawr, Presteigne Sheep Music Festival... to name but a few.

Horace X have shared bills with The Bhundu Boys, Transglobal Underground, Asian Dub Foundation, Joi, Banca de Gaia, Baka Beyond, Fundamental and the like. They have recorded four C.D.s, the first of which was put forward for nomination for the 1995 Mercury prize. Notoriously indescribable, Horace X venture ever further into uncharted waters playing a uniquely total global mix. Joining forces with Horace X, ragga-chants from Simon X ride across irresistible dance beats. A huge mix of sequenced and live sounds: Drums, Bass, Samples, keyboards, Asian/Celtic/Cajun fiddle, Free and Funky horns... all this and a stunning UltraViolet Stage Show.

X Biographics

Mark Russell

Composition, Drums, Organ, Percussion, Production, Programming

Mark RussellMark's love of music and rhythm started as a child living in the Sudan where his father worked as a teacher. On returning to Scotland he took up electric guitar in 1972 at the age of 13, inspired by the black rock and rollers like Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Little Richard. By 15 he had saved enough money to buy a second hand drum kit, which he set up in the garage and set about learning the rhythms he loved by playing the records and trying to copy what the drummer was doing.

With a musical upbringing that included Sudanese music, James Brown and T. Rex, Mark played in many early experimental fusion bands, however his first professional work was in a cabaret band playing in the Working Men's Clubs around Newcastle ­ an eye opening experience which included a short residency at a brothel!

When ska and reggae music blossomed in the early eighties, Mark formed his first band, V-Disk, playing a ska-electronic fusion, featuring the innovative new Korg MS10 synth - supporting the likes of Bad Manners, The Selecter, The Body Snatchers, Steel Pulse, and Culture. The band split, and Mark's half went on to form the notorious experimental reggae/punk/funk band Your Dinner, whilst he also played in the roots-reggae band Hondo. At this time he recorded a single with Dennis Bovell and met his all time favourite producer Lee Perry. In a review by the eminent Charles Shaar Murray, Marks drumming was described as 'sensational.'

Starting to do studio session work led him to build and run a professional recording studio in Cambridge in the mid eighties, while he also worked at the core of a project to get a local venue built ('The Junction').

He moved to London to work with an early line up of Sons of the Desert in 1989, and made much of his living busking at Covent Market with them. While they moved to France, he stayed in London and worked for a year at Community Music ­ an outreach project taking music facilities and teachers to under privileged kids in London, which eventually led to the formation of Asian Dub Foundation. Around this time he was playing with bands including Ruff Ruff & Ready and working with members of 'Simple Minds', 'Osibisa', 'John Martin Band', 'The Charlie Watt Big Band', 'Tommy Chase Quartet', and '5-Star'.

In 1991, Mark took the decision to start a long term composition project and moved to a village outside London where he worked for a year with mad-bad vocalist Demmy James and the renowned guitarist Calum MacColl (currently Ronan Keating's musical arranger) in 'Apes'. This was his first project using samples and backing tapes along with live drums, guitars, and horns. Demmy's family commitments ended the project, so Mark continued the concept by teaming up with Folk fiddler Hazel Fairbairn to form Horace X in 1993, while doing the odd session with members of 'The Eddi Reader band', 'The Bible', and 'Pluck This', including work with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger on the album 'The Naming of Names'.

Horace X grew from an original diet of 'Dance Music' backed Balkan tunes, and has evolved using the influence of Gypsy tunes from all over the world to produce a truly Global Music.

While not composing or on tour with Horace X, Mark is currently doing a part time Honours degree in creative musics in Cambridge, and lives in a cottage with a converted recording studio in a sleepy village in Cambridgeshire, UK.

Hazel Fairbairn


Hazel grew up in a multi-cultural bog near Slough and from an early age experienced both Asian and Celtic sounds as a normal backdrop to everyday life. Learning violin from age 8, Hazel grew up with both classical and folk traditions. In 1983 she moved to London to study music at City University and the Guildhall School of Music. Majoring in Ethnomusicology, she graduated with first class honours and a passion for the diversity of world music culture, fuelled by experiencing the vibrant London music scene.

Whilst in London Hazel played fiddle and viola with experimental groups, The City Garden and The Ubiquity Orchestra , and with Soweton Jazz Pianist Mervyn Afrika, performing venues around London including Ronnie Scotts, The Bloomsdale Theatre, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival where she also first played with Gypsy-Jazz violinist, Joe Townsend. During this time Hazel also spent a great deal of time in pubs around Camden Town and developed a passion for Irish music.

From 1988-1993 Hazel researched Irish Fiddle Music in Co. Clare and Co. Cork working with Micheal O Suilleabhain, and playing with Sharon Shannon, Tommy Peoples, and many other fine musicians. Her PhD thesis about Anarchy in The Irish Music Session was awarded by The University of Cambridge in 1992. During this time, Hazel made a living busking with a Cajun band in Cambridge and also touring France, Italy and Switzerland.

Hazel formed Horace X with Mark Russell fusing Balkan tunes and western dance beats and gave up her job lecturing on World Music.

In 1994 she went to the Bhavan to study Indian Classical (Carnatic) Music. While playing with Laurie Anderson, in her Meltdown series at The South Bank, Hazel met Chandru (Violinist and string arranger for Bollywood Strings who has recorded with George Harrison, Bjork, Nitin Sawnhey and Talvin Singh) and resumed these studies as his student.

As well as appearing with Horace X she now performs with Chandru in classical Indian and East West fusion concerts, and still guests with a number of Irish and folk line ups.

Pete Newman

Clarinet and Baritone Sax

Pete was born near Cambridge in 1973. A classically trained clarinettist from age 9, he took up tenor sax at 16 and starting getting into jazz, blues and (particularly) funk, soon starting to specialise in baritone sax. He has recently added contra-alto clarinet to his array of instruments.

Pete ran his own band "New Tradition" playing anything from trad to funk from age 17 to 19. In 1992, he formed instrumental 10-piece funk band "Fully Funktional" playing his own compositions - released album "Intoxication" in 1996 of all original material and released a new album, "No Frills" in 2003, again of  his own compositions. He has always made a point of including clarinet on some heavy funk tunes and other modern styles that are often considered inappropriate/impossible for the clarinet.

After graduating with a first in philosophy from University of Birmingham in 1994, Pete played in various soul, acid jazz and jump jive bands from 1994-1995, including touring Switzerland with harmonica virtuoso Steve Lockwood in 1995. During this time he also studied briefly with saxophonist Jean Toussaint.

Pete joined Horace X in 1997, finding another new environment for the clarinet and covering the other end of the spectrum on baritone sax, often employing a slap-tongue style influenced by that of bass saxophonist Adrian Rollini.

Aside from Horace X, he continues to lead Fully Funktional and work as a session player for other bands, even stepping back to the classical field occasionally as favoured clarinettist for composer Rohan Leach. Often to be found in small informal jazz and blues groups around Cambridge, including that of singer/songwriter George Breakfast.

His musical influences range through Roland Kirk, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Carla Bley, Nils Landgren , Charles Mingus and many New Orleans jazz clarinettists.


Simon Twitchin


Inspired by old school reggae, ska and ragga, Simon learned to chat from vintage vinyl cuts and teamed up with Terminator Bones in 1994. Their debut album, Chant Down Babylon won the attention of Andy Kershaw who featured them in two sessions on Radio 1 and they were picked up by The Mad Professor who subsequently mixed for them.

During the next few years of hard touring around the UK, they met Horace X and collaborated in cutting edge non-stop cross over music performance concepts. Eventually, bored of motorway cafés and sleeping in cars Simon and Bones retired.

Horace X still had their number.

Guesting on Horace X's first full length CD, the duo appeared with them live for the first time at Glastonbury in 1999. Fired up again, both recorded and released solo albums and continued to tour with Horace X. Although Bones' extensive family commitments have prevented him from lengthy international tours, Simon is now hardcore Horace, bringing Mark's reggae influences to the foreground of the band's sound.


Fabian Bonner


Cambridge-born, Fabian learnt music from childhood starting with piano, violin, classical and electric guitar and then taking up bass at 16 when he and Pete Newman first met. They have played together ever since in blues, rock, jazz and funk line ups. A founder member of the infamous and highly regarded Flying Pig jams at the Flying Pig pub in Cambridge UK, Fabian ran the jams for several years in the 90s before being threatened with a £20,000 fine for unlicensed music...

Fabian has toured with bands in Canada, France, Australia and the UK. As well as playing with Horace X he guests with George Breakfast, Fully Funktional, Cath Coombs and the Awesome Soul Collective and Godfather. Also an active member of Real Deal Productions.

Cath Coombs


Cath Coombs, newest addition to the band!- a powerful soul singer who has created her own unique sound with strong influences from Aretha Franklin and gospel training. Originally working in the Irish folk tradition, she was lead singer and instrumentalist for successful Cambridge band Whiskey Before Breakfast, where she appeared throughout Europe and the UK. Festival appearances include Glastonbury, the Barbican and the Cambridge Folk Festival, where in 2000, as a solo artist, she was famously joined on stage by the legendary Joan Baez. Now performing live with Horace X (she appears on the albums Sackbutt and Burst Peacock), her vocals bring an emotive soul power to the music. She is also performing regularly with her own band "Cath Coombs and the Awesome Soul Collective"


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