At the age of thirteen, bass player John Parker and singer Luke Concannon met on the school bus. They became good friends, and sat in a room for hours after school, playing and writing songs. They evolved in to the duo ‘Nizlopi’. Their difficulties at school, later inspiring their number one hit, ‘The JCB Song’.
Nizlopi wrote and performed enthusiastically, and by 2001 were touring the country promoting their first album, Half These Songs Are About You. By now John was playing the double bass, and human beat boxing at the same time, making him an extraordinary one-man band, and Luke was playing the acoustic guitar. Nizlopi had one foot in the Irish folk sessions they had played in since childhood, and the other in their love for contemporary music, much of it black music (Jazz, Soul, Gospel, Ska, and Hip-hop)
A cottage industry grew around them to act as a record label; a full-time indie run from the spare room. The freedom of being on their own label suited Nizlopi very well, and they later turned down offers from major labels in order to stay true to their music, and ethics. They were an underground, activist, soul/folk/hip-hop act, playing some exquisite gigs around the country!
In 2005 Nizlopi released ‘The JCB song’, a unique Father-and-Son song. Helped by the poignant online video, the single became a hit! Suddenly this humble duo blew up to be a prime-time television “pop” act, playing in the Wembley arena, touring Europe, and becoming a million-record-selling success.
Nizlopi got to take their music to people all over the world, meet and collaborate with their heroes [Benjamin Zephania, Danny Thompson, Rory Mcleod, Alastair Mcintosh, Damien Dempsey] and be seen in the mainstream. They counted people such as Daniel Day Lewis, Tony Benn, and Jamie Cullum amongst their admirers, and other young songwriters such as Ed Sheeran cite Nizlopi as a major influence on their music. Their back catalogue of two albums and four EPs, contain riches far beyond their one mainstream hit song. The rapid growth and intensity, however, were too much for a tiny label to handle, and by mid 2008, amidst the stress and strain, Nizlopi and FDM Records decided to take time out.
Luke hitchhiked to Palestine with a travel guitar, meeting a bear, some soulful, kind people, and volunteering in the West Bank. These experiences distilling into his 2013 release ‘Give It All’. John became a stalwart of the singer-songwriter and folk scenes, playing with, Ed Sheeran, Newton Faulkner, Foy Vance, and many others.
In 2013 after a four-year respite, Nizlopi came back to play some wonderful shows together around the UK. This November they are touring the UK and Ireland, and hosting one of their songwriters residentials! Songs are getting written, and Nizlopi hope to record another album in the near future.