John Seman is an active bassist, composer and archivist in Seattle, WA. He is a founding member and current director of the Monktail Creative Music Concern.
John was born in New Jersey and began playing the piano as a boy. While enduring public education John developed skills on trumpet, tuba, percussion, guitar and double bass and began composing and studying music theory.
John earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Ethnomusicology and Music Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he studied ethnomusicology with Roderic Knight, composition and theory with Randolph Coleman, Param Vir and Richard Hoffmann, and double bass with Peter Dominguez, Ralphe Armstrong and Richard Davis. While at Oberlin he also studied Sitar and North Indian vocal technique, performed in the Oberlin Gamelan Kyai Barleyan, and took lessons on West African Mandinka Kora.
In 1997 John moved to Washington, D.C. and was granted a graduate fellowship to the University of Maryland in College Park, whose ethnomusicology program is strengthened by the direction of Ki Mantle Hood. John continued his Mandinka studies there with 149th generation Senegalese Jali Djimo Kouyate while teaching workshops on West African drumming and music culture. John’s interest in recorded media thrived in D.C. as he archived historical content for The Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Estate of American Composer Elie Siegmeister and worked very late nights at the very bitchin’ LION and FOX Recording Studios.
John relocated to Seattle, WA in 1999 where he currently resides. By mid- 2000, Seman and percussionist Mark Ostrowski had begun abducting performers, artists and other nogoodniks from Seattle’s seedy underbelly toward a revitalized MCMC cause.
During the daytime John is a freelance archivist and preservationist, has presented papers and workshops on archiving and preservation techniques at local and national conferences, and consulted with major regional institutions.
John has previously been a contributing member of The Degenerate Art Ensemble, and Washington D.C. post-punk performance artists Mail Order Bride. John has performed with many of the Northwest’s most original improvising musicians and had his compositions performed by the many members of MCMC.
Groups: Floss, Non Grata, Deal’s Number, Special O.P.S., Raymond Scott Project…etc.