Vyamanikal is the extraordinary collaboration of composer, pianist and organist Kit Downes and saxophone player Tom Challenger.

“Enticingly strange and wonderful sounds, so odd you can hardly believe it’s an organ making them” – Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 2014

“Downes and Challenger are onto something here and it goes beyond niche or novelty. Wedding Music deserves a spot near the top of this year’s best” – Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz, 2013


Their first album was recorded over 3 days in the summer of 2012 in Huddersfield University’s St Paul’s Church (a space renowned for its acoustic qualities), and is a selection of some of the music developed in residency. What emerged was an innovative yet melodic collection of improvised pieces that house sharply contrasting dynamics, microtonal nuances, and improvisational rapport that constantly engages and surprises.

Since the album, they have gone on to perform at the Royal Festival Hall (as part of the ‘Pull Out the Stops’ Festival – welcoming the return of the newly-refurbished organ), Cafe Oto (as part of ‘Klammer Klang’), The London Contemporary Music Festival 2014, Cologne Philharmonie, Swaledale Music Festival – as well as several live broadcasts for the BBC.

From October 2014-October 2015 they were part of Aldeburgh Music’s ‘Open Space’ residency programme – a project that saw them travel to different local churches in Suffolk, investigating the differing acoustics and different organs (often in various states of disrepair) that they found, all documented in an album recording, their second album as a duo – ‘Vyamanikal’. This project finished with a concert in Aldeburgh Music Festival in 2016, as well as Manchester Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival and Marsden Festival. They are now working together with ECM, the University of Kent and Stavanger Concert Hall on various collaborations through 2017.