Universally appealing melodies, harmonies and strong pop hooks underpin the powerful global-folk-rock sound of Janah. Exotic instruments, candles and incense all work to complete the scene and visually illustrate the band's commitment to showmanship.


“The bottom line to our music is to let people travel with the songs while staying in their own homes.” --Keith Johnston, Janah

Whether playing to jam band fans at a neo-hippie festival, slick hipsters in an urban club or world music aficionados at a music conference, Janah transcends genre and reaches the audience. That serves as testament to the universal appeal of Janah’s eclectic mix of rock, world music and positive spirituality. Although comparisons to U2, Rusted Root, Peter Gabriel or Afro Celt Sound System might seem to reek of hyperbole, the discriminating listener will find them to be apt.

The genesis of Janah’s music derives from the travels of lead vocalist/guitarist Keith Johnston, who spent a year searching the Mediterranean for the spiritual as well as for the worldly. Johnston spent much of 1994 and 1995 working-- first on a kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee, then on Ein Yahov Moshav-- in a desolate stretch of desert near the Dead Sea. While on the kibbutz, he lived with 25 volunteers from all over the world. The exposure to differing cultures was eye opening. “You see things differently from how you see them growing up,” says Johnston. “There weren’t many Westerners [on the moshav]; that’s where I started writing lots of songs. We listened to lots of Israeli and Arab music on the radio while we worked.”

After his sojourn in Israel, Johnston toured Egypt and Greece. Egypt had a particular impact. “Everything there had a wild rawness to it that was just beautiful. I tried to translate the feels and colors and smells into music.” When Johnston returned home to Atlanta, he continued to explore the music of other cultures, while writing songs that married his new cultural experiences to his rock sensibilities. When it came time to perform these new songs, Johnston was able to find some very special musicians.

Bassist/vocalist Steve Atwell and drummer/vocalist Ron Cochran had played in bands with Johnston—but never in a band remotely like Janah. Atwell’s bass style serves to anchor Janah’s sound, but it is his showmanship that a first-time audience notices. Drummer Cochran doesn’t play the traditional trap kit found in virtually all rock bands. He contributes fills from a variety of African drums (he uses a djembe instead of a snare, for instance); his vocal work adds immeasurably to Janah’s distinctive multiple part harmonies and precision call-and-response singing style. Percussionist/vocalist Rick Shoemaker is fascinating to watch as he combines his split-second timing on congas, timbales, concert bass drum, dumbek and a variety of other instruments with that of Cochran. This rhythm section is unlike any other in the rock world.

Multi-instrumentalist Bill Douglass is as much a front man for Janah as Johnston. He projects a commanding appearance on stage, sings most of the baritone parts of Janah’s complex vocal arrangements and plays an impressive array of exotic instruments. Tablas, sitar, bamboo flutes, bodhran, penny whistle, mizmar and didgerido all come into play when Douglass is on stage. Keyboard man Brad Chestnut adds the sounds of the few instruments the other band members don’t play, as well as danceable rhythms and further vocal harmonies.

Janah holds its own on stage when opening for any band. They look good and they sound better. Exotic instruments, exotic costumes, candles and incense all contribute to the image. Beautiful melody, exciting on-stage interaction and a uniquely positive attitude complete the scene.


More info at http://janah.org

Set List

Oil On My Head
Wake Of The Sun
Luna De La Tierra
Leavened Heart (I Tumble Down)
Creation's Molding Furnace
Temple Of My Body
Forbidden Country
Bagona (The Spirit Current)
Hitching Post Of The Sun