Born in London, Julian started drumming early - he had his own drum kit by age 9 and was introduced to the world of jazz and live music by his father. Julian took his first Tabla lesson in Southall, London with Ismail Sheikh. Sheikh himself was a student of Alla Rakha, Ravi Shankar's long time Tabla player and father of Zakir Hussain.
During the 80's and 90's, Julian studied middle eastern Darabouka (Doumbec ) in Greece, playing with other Greek and Turkish folk musicians - notably the legendary Ross Daly - and making his mark as a teacher, performer and maker of percussion instruments. Julian spent a year in Paris continuing to teach Tabla and Darabouka, performing regularly with Afro-Jazz fusion group Nawal and providing percussion for contemporary dancers' study and performance in studios all over Paris.
Back in the UK, basing himself in Brighton, Julian was part of Lotus Gypsy, performing at the Avalon stage at Glastonbury Music Festival in 1999 and was the founder member of the multi percussion band Kunundrum.
Julian has performed with Nick Pynn (Steve Harley's Cockney Rebel), as part of Arthur Brown's 'Crazy World of Arthur Brown' and with Jambience at Peace One Day (2002,2003) supporting Faithless, Starsailor, One Giant Leap, Jimmy Cliff, Nena Cherry, Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), Glastonbury Festival (2002,2003), The Big Chill Festival (2002) and Festival of Flight supporting Nitin Sawney.
Julian teaches Tabla, Darabouka and multi-percussion in schools throughout the UK. He has given multi-percussion workshops and works with participants from many different groups. Julian's work includes continuing collaboration with contemporary dancers in Greece, France and England.
The album 'Jewel in the Lotus' is the culmination of Julian Franks' musical career thus far. Julian was inspired to make the album after his first trip to Nepal and India. This journey linked up all the elements of his musical experience and knowledge, his own spiritual journey, his artistic eye and the urge to create. Making the album linked with the return journey to Nepal and Varanasi in India with his elder son Joel. It became a pilgrimage, lovingly treading the ancient pathways of jungle elephants, sacred cows, Buddhist monks, Hindu saints and sages, all the while capturing on video the strange richness of sight and sound. These powerful images now illustrate the album and are being crafted for the forthcoming DVD of the album to be launched mid 2005.
"On listening to Jewel in the Lotus I found myself drifting further and further away on a Soulful Pilgrimage through a richly woven soundscape of Western and Asian music"
"Being privileged to see an advance copy of the Jewel DVD I was very touched by it's magnetic warmth, especially
as it seems to focus on what as inhabitants of this small planet we all have in common, and not as is usual....Our Differences!"
Dave Meegan, Record Producer (worked with U2 on Joshua Tree, Rattle & Hum; producer of Marillion's new album; worked extensively with Trevor Horn)
"Julian's album appealed to me for its energy, its quality and its obvious path from the heart. Julian is on a journey. There are talented people prepared to be a part of this journey and that's always a good sign"
Al Scott, Record Producer (Asian Dub Foundation, The Oyster Band, The Levellers)
"It's good to see Julian making music about something important to him. Lovely rhythms, and an expansive vista.
Arthur Brown (of ''The Crazy World of Arthur Brown'), singer of psychedelic anthem 'Fire'
"As a long term fan of world fusion music, I know what I like and I like Julian Franks new album 'The Jewel in the Lotus' very much indeed"
Lynne Franks, Author, Entrepreneur & Lifestyle Guru
"I really enjoyed your album and will talk about it where I can"
Benjamin Zephaniah, Poet
"Julian's heartfelt musical impressions of his trip make for stimulating and evocative listening and might well make you want to pack your rucksack as well"
Matt Chittock, Wave Magazine
"Recorded in Hove, it sounds more like Nepal - one minute you're in a Buddhist temple and the next in a club"
Marie Sansom, The Insight Magazine