This German-born, award-winning, internationally acclaimed performing songwriter got his musical roots from being raised in occupied Germany and fed a rich diet of American and British music. His potpourri of influences include Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Peter Gabriel, The Beatles, Pat Metheny, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Debussy, Earth Wind & Fire, and Eric Clapton , to name a few.
Hans’ decision to spend his life as a professional musician was very nearly aborted by disconsolate parents, until his uncle—who had played piano while a prisoner of war—intervened and convinced Hans’ parents to let Hans follow his heart.
His musical training and education enabled Hans’ early success as a musical artist—playing first classical guitar—then piano, percussion, bass, organ, and trumpet. He began playing with orchestras and ensembles in Germany, becoming a world-class bass player. He accompanied Robert Palmer on German TV, toured with the New York Broadway Ensemble , played throughout Europe with master harp player Ruediger Oppermann , and performed Concerto as soloist on fretless bass with the “Ars Quittilinga” Chamber Orchestra . (Concerto was written by contemporary East German composer, Thomas Koenig).
Hans co-founded the German Worldmusic cult band, Moka Efti , and recorded three CDs with them. The third album, Fata Morgana, features US saxophonist Charlie Mariano and producer/saxophonist Heinrich von Kalnein (Vienna Art Orchestra). Hans can boast a staggeringly long discography of recorded performances.
Upon becoming seduced by the sensual rhythms of Brazilian music, Hans packed his bags and went to live six months in Rio de Janeiro to study Samba, Bossa Nova , and Brazilian popular music. Inspired by what he learned, Hans returned to Germany to record his first solo album, Hazzazar. After his second German album was released, Hans became enamored with the idea of taking his talents to where the singer/songwriter scene was really happening—America. Without any promise of a record contract and only a handful of American acquaintances, this adventurous musician set out to continue his career in a strange country.
With his first American album, Inside Out , Hans breaks down the walls between world, pop, folk, jazz, and acoustic music, blending these styles with elegance and grace, resulting in a refreshingly original and intriguing work that shines with imagery and a joyful celebration of life and love.
Traveling throughout America in what may be the longest continuous tour by a performing artist, Hans broadened his music to include more blues and even gospel influences. His songs can rock the house or soothe the soul and mind and are always played expertly by a master guitarist. Hans’ playful voice draws comparisons to Sting, Stephen Bishop, Paul Simon, Kenny Rankin or Michael Franks . He is a consummate musician, traveling between folk, jazz, and pop effortlessly, while his voice soars above it all. Seeing him live, you understand that you are experiencing a world-class talent. His joy is infectious, and his voice is smooth, silky, and unique with a breathtaking three-octave range, richly textured as well as utterly intimate. Hans has the ability to sweep you off your feet.
His latest album, Young Amelia , features his impressive acoustic guitar playing, appealing voice, and impeccable songwriting skills. His rhythmic and melodic flourishes, the expansive feel of his open tuning with full, round notes and ringing overtones, and his skilled lyric writing make every cut of Young Amelia a favorite.
The greatest joy with Hans York is not found by simply listening to his flawlessly produced albums; it is by watching and hearing him live. When Hans York walks onto a stage and embraces the audience with his warm, engaging smile, this begins an unforgettable evening of music and song.