Article Index

BIO

 

  • Mike 'Sugar' Cahen

Born and raised in London.

French mother and Nigerian father.

My African names, chosen in the Yoruba tradition by my Grandfather are :

Tokumbo Termitayo Adekunbe Olumide Adebayo Ajani Ogun Adebiyi.

The moniker 'Sugar' was given by bassist Roger Inniss whilst touring with Elkie Brooks.

 

 

  • Instruments

Guitar, bass and Mohan Veena (Indian instrument with 21 strings)

  • Music

 

Music was kind of always 'there' for me. From distant hazy memories of black and white T.V sets, the Shadows playing 'Apache' with their dance step routine to the present. Hissing pre FM valve radio sets and pirate radio stations. London's swinging Sixties' provided an inventive and creative auditive overload with the added visual kudos of hotpants hitting Carnaby Street.

Like many others kids in England, I enrolled in the local choir as a choirboy, great fun and a paid extra for attending Sunday school at church (The Holy Trininty, Richmond).

 

  • Learning the guitar

Vers, Pont du Gard. As a teenager, my mate Phil Clark was witness to an incident which changed my life. The obvious outlet to me was to start playing music.

An universe with no room for cheating, either you can do it or you can't and if you DO make blunders they're out in the open. Phil remembers me picking up his sister's guitar and saying 'I'm going to learn this thing'.

 

So, I was Initially self taught, learning the basics with some old classical guitar methods with which my mum had tried and failed to learn to play (She claims she's tone deaf) on an old Classical German parlour guitar she had bought and left hanging on a wall.

After a year of learning short easy classical pieces, arpeggios and chords I asked for and received a Maya Japanese Strat copy as a birthday present with an Italian 'Gem' 20 Watt amp. Having relocated to Montpellier in the South of France there were only two guitar methods available, one by American guitarist Mickey Baker and the other by a French session guy called Pierre Fanen.

 

So learning to play meant listening to vinyl records and trying to figure out how the heck my heroes were playing:

Open tunings? Vibrato? Which position? Which scale? Which chord and where on the neck? Which fingering, and on which string? What guitar or amp is being used?

Trial and error in an endless world of slowly unfolding mysteries...And some chance meetings on the way: My mum has passed WWII in Brittany in the Fol family household, as fate had it, her childhood friend Raymond Fol later became a jazz pianist playing with the Hot Club de France with Django and also a very close friend of Duke Ellington with whom he often guested in the Duke Ellington Band. Raymond invited to his trio's gigs in Festivals in the Soith of France and even attended one of my teenage band's rehearsals. Of course I couldn't fully appreciate that he was light years ahead of me in terms of musical knowledge but he was very patient and never pushy. A man of wisdom.

Ten years after I had started playing I decided to attend the Musician's Institute, G.I.T, Los Angeles and received a Vocational diploma with honors.

 

  • Who were the teachers and visiting musicians at the G.I.T?

Robben Ford, Joe Pass, Frank Gambale, Keith Wyatt, Art Renshaw, Joe Diorio, Paul Gibert, Tommy Tedesco, Larry Carlton, Eddie Van Halen, Jennifer Batten, Steve Vai, Ray Gomez, Eric Johnson, Larry Coryell, Ron Eschete, and many others...

Some follow 'students' during the M.I period:

Jeff Buckley, John Frusciante, Kurt Bisquera, Allen Hinds, Jimmy Herring, Enzo Tedesco, Marie Ange Martin

 

  • Session work

Freelance session work includes...

RWP Productions U.K, Konk Studios (The Kinks recording studios in London) U.K, Davout Studios, El Cortijo studios (Spain), Euromedia, Harryson, Aquarium studios, Milkshake studios, Studios d'Aguesseau, The Tube Station etc

 

  • Equipment

Over the years I've used the following...

  • Guitars over the years...

Classical (brand unknown), Maya Strat copy, Ibanez LesPaul copy, Ibanez Firebird copy, Ibanez Silver series Strat copy, Yamaha SG (200?), Ibanez bass, Larivée bass, Gibson 335 sunburst, Gibson 335 dot, LesPaul Standard '79, Ibanez double neck 12/6 string, Fender Strat (Squier), Danelectro, Strat, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson 175, Vox Phantom, Martin , Classical, Meloduende Phantom, Martin D28, Fender Tele.

 

  • Amps

Gem 20w, Music Man 212 HD 130, Roland 20w, Mesa Boogie, Cornford, Sheldon 1,5 w, Line 6.

In the studio

Music Man, Marshall 2x12, Mesa-Boogie, Line 6 Pro, Cornford, Rocktron, Rockman, Fender Deluxe

On stage

Cornford, Mesa Boogie, Sheldon, Music Man, Peavey, Charlie Acoustic, AER, Line 6, Cornford, Marshall and Fender amps

 

 

  • Played and worked on projects with artists, producers and musicians including 

Elkie Brooks, Lionel Ritchie, Suzi Quatro, Benjamin Zephaniah and a bundle of sessions.

  • Producers

Jean Alain Roussel (Bob Marley, Rolling Stones), Trevor Morais (Bjork, Tina Turner), Duncan Mackay (Ten CC, Kate Bush), Steven Forward. 

 

  • Guitarists

Alvin Lee (Ten Years After), Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake), Geoff Whitehorn (Paul Rodgers, The Who, Paul McCartney), Al Hodge,  Van Wilks, Phil Palmer, Sal Bernardi (Riki Lee Jones), Gary Hoey, Mar Todani.

  • Keyboards

Jean Roussel, Johnny Dyke, Brandon Christy, Duncan Mackay, Jacques Bouniard, Gary Karp, Peter Faint,  Eric Chevalier

 

  • Bass players

Steve York (Eric Clapton), Roger Inniss (RogMikEnzo, Chaka Khan, Mick Taylor, Blues Caravan) Brian Badhams, Ken 'Big Dawg' Smith (Nasville session player), Emana, George Wolfhaardt, Kim Yarbrough

  • Drummers

Enzo Todesco, Patrick Buchmann, Ken Dalluge, Mike Richardson, Gerry Conway, Jaimie Little, Alain Decampos.

 

  • Indian Classical musicians

Sabir Sultan Khan ( Sarangi) , Amanat (Sitar)  and many more.

 

  • Tours and concerts

B.B.C Live in Belfast, Maryport Blues Festival, The Unfinished Business Tour, The Strange Fruit tour, The Hits and the Blues Tour, The Shangri-La Tour, The Christian Harling/ Dionne Warwick tour, The Berlin Acoustic Nights/ Holy Grail Guitar Show. Concerts in France, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Ireland, Italy, Morrocco, Algeria, Tunisia.

 

  • Demos and clinics

Vilas Guitars (Spain), M-Tone Guitars (U.S), Daguet Guitars (France), San Lorenzo Guitars (France) ,Bare Knuckle Pickups, Andy Manson Guitars(UK), Seth Baccus Guitars (UK), Ergon Guitars (Portugal), Tao Guitars (Belgium), Hilko Guitars (Belgium), Meloduende Guitars (France), VL Effects (France), Cornford Amplification (UK), Sheldon Amplification (U.K).

 

  • Albums

Short list includes

Elkie Brooks Live: Don't cry out loud, Benjamon Zephaniah: 'Naked', The Absia Project: Chill out on the Seine (World music), Rock Tendences (Instrumental music), Mike Cahen :Unplugged at Home (Solo album), Coast to Coast, Parisian Nights by RogMikEnzo Live, Daydream by Amanda Fahey.

  • Music for syncs and publishing

Mike is a member of the Speegra Publishing, a London based music publishing company. He has written a catalog of tracks for advertising and films which are available to hear on the Speegra Website.

  • Music for TV - Websites

Country Club, Peugeot

  • Teaching

Mike's Music Connection : Seminars  and clinics.

International Music Seminars (Antibes, Montpellier) Teaching and coordination. 

With Robben Ford, Al Di Meola, Pat Metheny, Joe Diorio, Ritchie Beirach, Gary Hoey, Jacques Bouniard, Frank Gambale, Ken Dalluge, Quest, the Chick Corea Band

 

Cours Florent, ensemble rehearsals with Jean Roussel, Marten Ingle, Bobby Rangell and Arnaud Frank; The Centre Agora, Paris, MJC, Nimes

Private one to one lessons. 

 


 

 

Influences

In the beginning

The Stones (local band from Richmond) following their different guitar/amp/studio sounds through the years.

Keith Richards for his raunchy gritty sound, timing, attitude and call and response style approach to filling space while interacting with the vocals, and of course his use of open tunings.

Brian Jones for slide guitar

Mick Taylor for his lyrical approach

Mightnight Rambler: Ampeg amp rauncharama

 

 

Mick Taylor: tone, vibrato and bottleneck playing.

Peter Green

Gary Moore

Eric Clapton

Jeff Beck

Albert King

Otis Rush

Robben Ford

Sonny Landreth

Ry Cooder

David Broomberg

Mike Bloomfield

Johnny Winter