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News of current projects, projects to come and maybe a little bit about past projects ...

August 2012

"Hello, are you still doing workshops?" came the enquiry a couple of weeks ago. I knew it was well past the time I should update this page. So, with apologies to people who may glance at this page to see if I'm still trading ... I am, but as is glaringly obvious, I have been very slow to add any news this year. Once again, life has thrown other things my way, but I am slowly adjusting to whatever passes for normal these days and getting used to having to do things differently. The biggest difference, of course, is that it now takes longer to sort out whatever equipment is needed for whatever job I am doing and it is usually miles from where I happen to be. Oh well, a bit of extra planning doesn't hurt I suppose. Living on a boat has its charms, but sometimes I would like to have ready access to my instruments and resources.

Performing projects with The News of the Victory, Hoofbeat, The King's Lynn Community Samba Band, Hodmedod, Beatroot, Bishy Barnabeat, the Neil Cousin Band and my solo songwriter project have continued.

New this year is Snakecharmer, a new ceilidh duo with Steve Bingham. We had our first ceilidh on Lifeboat Plain in Sheringham for their carnival fortnight on the last day of July. Using Steve's expertise in live looping I have written a new set of tunes and arranged them in several parts, so that we can build a big sound with just two people. While Steve is controlling the looping technology and playing the violin parts I add guitar and percussion and call the dances. Is it another first in the folk dancing world? I know of nothing else like it locally. Again the feedback from the festival organisers was very positive.

DeeP Music school projects have also been continuing. Thanks again to the lovely staff at Walpole Cross Keys School and Yaxham School who have helped me stay afloat with regular work. New this year has been regular work with long-time friend and fellow musician, Martin Bright, at Hintlesham and Chattisham School in Suffolk. The school has presented us with some challenging projects, but we have helped them come up with performances of original music using a range of percussion. At their "Olympic Games Opening Ceremony" we employed all the KS2 pupils (about sixty of them) playing a range of percussion instruments from Africa, Cuba and Brazil, alongside pupils playing guitars, violin, keyboards and singing on an extended specially devised piece. The promenading audience of parents and friends were very complimentary and the pupils gave a splendid and enthusiastic performance. The hall looked amazing filled as it was with congas, djembes, dun-duns, and samba percussion along with the school's extensive tuned percussion set. We are going back into the school after the summer holiday for another project.

The Children's Our World Festival took place this year in Old Buckenham Primary School. Sadly, it was the only one this year, but it was fun working with all the regulars including Tony Ogogo, Paul Jackson, the Nachdar Sansaar Bhangra Dancers , Jenny Cunningham and others.

The Downham Market cluster of primary schools hosted the annual infant music festival again this year. It is extraordinary to think that I put the first of these events on in 1987 and we have not missed a year since. That makes twenty-six consecutive years of leading these festivals and they are still just as much fun as ever. That kind of longevity brings its own problems though. I bumped into a young lady who has started working at a farm near where I live these days and she recognised me from a festival many years ago. At least she didn't say, "You used to have hair ..." The dates are booked for next year already - 13th/14th June 2013.

I enjoyed very much opportunities to work again in King's Lynn Nursery and Arden Grove School in Norwich as well as visits to Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech (steel pan workshop) and Teversham Primary School in Cambridge (samba workshop). This month has been busier than usual with ceilidhs and other performances and the diary is looking reasonably healthy for the Autumn term.