John Hughes is an innovative composer, kora player, percussionist and vocalist whose style ranges from traditional west African rhythms and melodies to quirky and original hypnotic grooves that defy classification. Playing ancient traditional instruments not often heard in the United States, many of which he builds himself, John takes his audience on an intimate tour of universally musical expressions of joy and hope, at once soothing and uplifting.

The kora is a sublime and magical instrument whose delicate sound has been likened to the sound of gently flowing water and the voices of angels. It’s sound has been comforting and inspiring children and adults, warriors and kings in West Africa for nearly a thousand years. The traditional repertoire of  the kora is playful and tender, passionate and transcendent!

John performs solo and in various duo, trio and band configurations with various artists including cellist , Stephen Katz, bass player Mike Harrist, wind players Steve Gorn, Erik Lawrence and Charlie Tokarz, percussionists Todd Roach and John de Kadt.

"John Hughes and Todd Roach gave an outstanding Lecture/Demonstration for our 125 arts students gathered in the summer of 2001 at the Putney School Summer Programs. It was one of the most compelling performances of the summer!  Both performers have such a commitment to educating their audience that we left not only thoroughly entertained but also much more knowledgeable. I very much hope to have them back next summer and highly recommend this duo."

-Tom Howe, Director of The Putney School Summer Programs.

Performing at an elementary school in VT with percussionist, Todd Roach

“Everyone loved your music! ... it was the perfect party music and created such a wonderful atmosphere. Thank you not only for your music but for the energy you exuded.  I couldn’t have been happier!”


  -  Jane Iredale.   President and founder of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics.

“John played his Kora at our wedding. His music was enchanting. It created a time of pure magic!  When I think of our wedding, I can still hear John’s music. It is a beautiful part of the memory that will stay with us forever.”

       -   Joyce and Charles Henley.

“John, you made or wedding so romantic and magical with your angelic kora music!  We can never thank you enough.”

               -   Robin and Seth Rabinowitz.

• Ceremony and Reception Music

• Cocktail Hour Music

  1. Dinner Music

Please click here to learn more about wedding music.

Also available:

Kora & Cello Duo

Click here to learn more!

Joyful musical accompaniment to make your special day even more special!

Hire Me

Are you planning a special event? 
Perhaps I can make it even more special!

Joyful Musical accompaniments for a wide range of occasions - from weddings to bar mitzvas... from garden parties to dinner parties...  Perfect for music-centered listening venues or situations that call for the creation of subtle ambiance.


The Pushkin Arts Center with cellist Stephen Katz.  

Performing at The Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, WI

Educational Presentations

with Charlie Tokarz at Café Topia



Click here to learn about Performance Fees.Performance_Fees.html

Custom Design Your Special Event!

He hired me to play under a tree in a park by a lake to set the mood for his proposal of marriage.  She thought they were going for their typical Sunday afternoon walk in the park... 

She said, “Yes!”

“Thanks for helping me make the day extra special. We really enjoyed your music.  It was exactly as I had hoped it would be!”

  1. -Casper.  Graduate student

A private concert for a couple in Oakland, CA. 

  1. Receptions

• Dinner Parties

  1. Garden Parties

  2. Corporate Events

  3. Etc.

Yoga Classes

Playing music for a yoga classes.  Left, South Boston Yoga.  Below, Museum of Modern Renaissance

“The music was melodious and soulful! It set the perfect mood for the class!”

  1. -Lia.  Aspiring yogi