Laonikos / shakuhachi

I'm Laonikos, a shakuhachi player, creative artist and wilderness guide based in London. I work as Creative Project Leader at Sound and Music, and over the last ten years I have worked as an improvising musician, dancer, workshop leader, festival producer, community network developer, and wilderness guide. In my creative work, I explore how, through the arts and wilderness experiences, we can connect to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us.


I'm a GLOMAS graduate, a certified wilderness guide, and co-artistic director of artArctica. We produced our second international and multiarts artArctica festival and residency (9-11 February 2017), and in 2016 we published poem.a, an anthology of Arctic poetry. In London I studied composition at Guildhall with Paul Newland.

Though I work primarily with sound, I also work creatively with movement and poetry. I am interested in improvisation as a way of connecting to the present moment, and I'm keenly passionate about collaborating with other artists. When I'm in a good mood I often whistle Boccherini. My current practice is on the shakuhachi, which I am studying with Clive Bell.

My favourite wikipedia page is by far the List of Common Misconceptions. I go to sauna weekly, I make hammocks, I bake bread on Sundays, and I really like fixing stuff.

(I also design my own website.)

i believe.

I believe in honesty. I believe in play, in sharing, in dance. I believe that music (arts?) is a verb, not a noun. That all art is a process which connects us to each other, and its value is not found on a price-tag of an artwork or a CD, but in the change it brings to the people involved.

As an artist and person I am inspired by improvisatory performance, Japanese philosophy, and the Finnish wilderness. What I find common in all of these is the importance of listening and being present. I believe listening is a radical act and the beginning of real conversation, which opens up the path to understanding, compassion, and peace.

recent work.

Immersive Listening research project explores how being in the wilderness affects improvisation - my thesis, titled Rewilding music: Improvisation, wilderness, and the global musician (2016), explores the ways in which the wilderness is embodied in improvisatory practice, and how it can nurture cosmopolitan listening.

umami-music is an ongoing collaboration with Chris Bartholomew. In November 2015 we took over Helsinki Music House's Black Box hall, with a 5-hour improvisation exploring the hinterland between vastness and the momentary, slowness and the sudden, the wild and the tamed: a haiku-music. We released our first EP in Spring 2016 at a 3-hour gig in London. Here's some extracts:

In September 2019 I performed in the rainforest biome of Eden Project. Earlier that year I was in Berkeley Square improvising with nightingales in a communal performance organised by Sam Lee and Extinction Rebellion.

In August 2013 I wrote a talk on life, relationships, the self, nothingness, and meaning, titled Black Holes of the Mind for Three Discourses, a collaboration with Matthew Lee Knowles at the Barbican Centre during Hack The Barbican 2013.

For a complete list of compositions and performances, click here.