A Berklee scholar on guitar, Joel wandered from his Jazz path after spending the past ten years playing with everyone from Even Parker and Lionel Loueke through to Maori Shamen, poets, classical and near and far eastern musicians during a long term residency at London’s Club Inegales. 

A classically trained composer from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, it was composing for the Atlas Ensemble (a 30-piece orchestra showcasing the foremost artists from world traditions) that led him to an intense period of study where he was inspired to redesign his playing from the ground up. Resurrecting Mississippi Fred Mcdowell’s  ‘half-slide’ technique, he found he could approach levels of expression previously unobtainable on the guitar. 

Knitting together these experiences into a new ensemble that encompasses world, jazz, folk, blues and post-classical sound worlds, GOKUMI features some of the most original voices in modern music.

Engaging crossover works of both Eastern and Western influence in contemporary compositional style, but relying on older forms and musical archetypes to create something original.                                                   -Calgary Herald, Banff, Canada, April 1, 2015, Stephan Bonfield

The glow-worm glows by guitarist Joel Bell, drawing bright and pulsing riffs over an ostinato that threatened to but never quite overwhelmed the line. They finished with pure improvisation, though the material was consciously ‘dirty’ in origin.                                                                         -Amati Magazine


...highly intelligent and individual approach to the integration of improvisational techniques within notated composition...’

-Richard Barrett


The musical soundscapes-panoramas give us a sort of state-of-the-art window on ultra-post-modern-modern worlds. It makes for a beautiful listen.

This set breaks ground and stimulates the musical ears in rather profound ways. I do not hesitate to recommend it highly. An essential offering for what, indeed, is new out there right now."
(Guitar and composition on Kate Halsall's 'Miniaturised Concertos)

- Grego Edwards (Gapplegate Classical Modern Music)

Previous events



Cafe Oto, London

Galvanize Ensemble + guests inc. Gemma Kost / John Garner / Mimi Doulton / Jack McNeill

Core players: Joel Bell electric guitar, Kate Halsall piano, harmonium, other keys, Phil Maguire sampling, Stephen Hiscock percussion

Music by Joel Bell, Duncan MacLeod, Carmel Smickersgill, others tbc

This performance includes a Eduardo Paolozzi influenced work, Metalization of a Dream by Duncan MacLeod, inspired by dada- and surrealist-inspired collages, moving performers around the auditorium. There's also the world premiere of Commune, Learning to connect as shown to us by trees, by Manchester based composer Carmel Smickersgill, which highlights the similarities between us as humans and our surroundings.

The performance sees ensemble players sharing music, styles and influences, with arrangements and improvisations featuring alongside the larger scale commissions; exploring electro-acoustic voices from electric guitar, sampling, piano, harmonium, strings, strings, clarinet and voice.

https://www.galvanizeensemble.co.uk/ https://galvanizeensemble.bandcamp.com/



Exiled Poetry of Afghanistan

St Ethelburgas , - Liverpool Street, - Liverpool Street, London

Join us for this unique evening of Afghan spoken word and improvised music, bringing together ancient traditions in contemporary form with award winning contemporary Afghan poet, Reza Mohammadi alongside new compositions from Joel Bell and his ensemble, Gokumi.

Reza will be interviewed on his poetry at 6.45 with the performance starting at 7.30.


The Sound We Inhabit' by Benjamin McDonnell performed by the Gokumi Ensemble at Edouard Malingue Gallery, London Wed, November 27, 2019 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM GMT

Edouard Malingue Gallery, St. Saviour's Church Aberdeen Park London N5 2AR


Gokumi Ensemble with Ben McDonnell

Chisenhale Studios - studio 4, 64-84 Chisenhale Road, E3 5QZ

'The Sound We Inhabit' is a piece of music that Ben McDonnell has written during his month long residency at Chisenhale Studios. This piece will be performed for the first time to a public audience at the closing event of his residency on 5 September 2019 by Gokumi, a contemporary music ensemble comprises electric guitar, Korean flute, violin and bass clarinet. Ben has spent the past month on residency at Chisenhale Studios making work that uses photographic images, sculpture and sound as a way of re-seeing or re-understanding the built environment, using structures inherent in music and composition as a way of imagining an impermanent, speculative architecture. The performance will begin promptly in Studio 4 at Chisenhale Studios at 8:00pm. The duration of this performance is approximately 30 minutes. There will be a drinks reception from 8:30pm onwards.

RSVP is required via eventbrite.

Supported by Chisenhale Studios and Help Musicians UK Fusion Fund.


Joel Bell - Solo Concert

Private House concert Bayswater Art Gallery.

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