of projects in 2007...
King's Lynn Community Samba Band will be playing in King's Lynn
town centre (near Argos) on Thursday evening, 6th December, between
7 and 8pm. King's Lynn is in Norfolk in the UK.
will be entertaining shoppers in Thetford (also in Norfolk) the
following day, Friday evening December 7th from 6.30pm outside King's
House, the town council offices. We'll be including some first performances
of new music in the programme, including one of my new compositions,
"Was It Ever Like This".
if you needed suggestions for seasonal gifts I have a couple of
ideas. "A Rainbow Over the Freeway", the Sparks
tribute cd containing my version of "Frankly Scarlett, I Don't
Give a Damn" is now available from a dedicated MySpace page
price £11.49. All proceeds from this go to the Rainbow Trust
Children's Charity. The mini-cd "NotV" by The
News of the Victory is also still available from here
for just £6.00 plus p&p. Superb stocking fillers both.
the absence of other news I thought I would share something
utterly amazing ... if it turns out to be true. Today amongst the
daily crop of spam e-mail I received a message from a company in
Manchester offering to put deepmusic.co.uk at the top of
Google rankings. While I'm not exactly sure what that might involve
(apart from, I suppose, a hefty fee) I thought I would Google DeeP
Music and see where it came without their help. Naturally it was
top already. At the bottom of the first page of search engine results
was deepmusic.org. Now deepmusic.org is nothing to do with deepmusic.co.uk,
but I thought I would see what their site was about. As it happens
it's fascinating and very far-out science. Apparently a black hole
in the constellation of Perseus is responsible for emitting the
lowest note, a B-flat, ever discovered. It is literally, at 57 octaves
below middle C, the deepest music known in the universe. Of course
it is too deep for us to hear. As anyone who has experienced the
Sound Show will remember, the human ear can only theoretically
handle sounds between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. In practice, of course,
our range of hearing (specially as we mature into adulthood) is
considerably narrower than that. This cosmic B-flat is, apparently,
a million billion times deeper than the limits of human hearing.
So whereas our theoretical lowest limit of hearing is a sound vibrating
at 20 cycles every second, a single cycle of this cosmic B-flat
wave takes about ten million years. Naturally, someone has used
this information to compose some truly cosmic music. So, if you
have 311.04 trillion years to spare surf over to www.deepmusic.org
to see what five bars of deep music really looks like.
pleased to report that everything seems to be functioning well with
the two new websites. You can still access The News of the Victory
site through the links on the left or, if you can't be bothered
to click around, click here.
past school half term has seen the projects already reported in
addition to regular ongoing work in Norfolk village schools in Mileham,
Yaxham and Walpole Cross Keys.
the kind permission of head teachers and pupils at Walpole Cross
Keys Primary School and Balfour Junior School and the poet,
Wes Magee, I have put up some recordings of work carried out
by pupils during the past few months using music technology.
Click to listen to the recordings made by pupils at Walpole
Cross Keys (one class of Y3-Y6 pupils working in small groups)
in Norfolk and at Balfour
Junior School in Brighton (three classes of Y3 pupils working
in class sized groups). Some details of the contexts of the
projects can be found on the linked pages.
to Eleanor Gibson and the adult African drumming group at Wadenhoe,
near Oundle, Cambs. Many thanks for inviting me to run a workshop
for you this week. Good luck with the new rhythms we played,
Jansa, Wasulunke and Kuku!
in the day of the Wadenhoe drumming workshop I attended a day
at The Cut in Halesworth, Suffolk, where Sound Sense had organised
a day dedicated to the use of the Sound Beam. It was interesting
to see what other people were doing with this movement sensing
controller and was also good to renew acquaintances with artists
and performers not encountered for many years.
not often that any of my work is reviewed, but I recently recorded
a track for a cd, which is intended to raise money for the Rainbow
Trust Children's Charity, featuring the music of American group,
Sparks. The official launch of the cd is scheduled for 29th
November in London. Among masses of other performers involved in
this project are ex-members of Sparks, The Autons (who are
probably too young to have ex-members) and Jello Biafra.
If you can cope with the hyperbole of a fan adulation site administered
by their management company the full details are here.
Otherwise I shall bask in the imagined success of a job completed
and submitted ... even if the cd edit of my contribution was carried
out without reference to me or to the form of the music. It's tough
being a prima donna sometimes!
by Robert Walsha of
"A Rainbow Over The Freeway"
wasnt supposed to be that good ... Ive always held the
theory that the very uniqueness of Sparks made them a nigh impossible
band to cover well. Indeed, how many truly great Sparks cover versions
can anyone recall? I rest my case.
so I thought. A Rainbow Over The Freeway rather blows that theory
out of the water. In spades.
of the recordings here are clearly labours of love. It really shows.
Throughout, the quality of Ron and Russell Maels songwriting
shines through, undimmed even on those recordings that take the
songs to far off and audacious places.
mention on this front must be made of Derek Paices rereading
of Frankly Scarlett I Dont Give A Damn, a fabulous
collage of sound that, in instrumentation at least, comes over vaguely
Four Tet and wouldnt sound out of place on a Wire Magazine
Very Best Of The Wire Tapper CD. For the uninitiated,
this is a compliment! ...
collection brings out the sheer quality of Sparks music and,
coupled with such varied treatments, could even help make the ambivalent
and even downright Sparks-antipathetic realise what theyve
know what, Ron and Russell themselves should feel dead proud of
what their offspring have created!"
I've only reproduced the trumpet-blowing highlights here. You get
about half of my version of "Frankly Scarlett ..." on
the cd. The full track will be available as part of the whole album
in its eventual download version. I'll post further details when
move of DeeP Music to a different server has prompted me, at last,
to register a separate domain for The News of the Victory ( www.thenewsofthevictory.co.uk
). As I write it is not yet active, but I am expecting to come on-stream
at any time and it should be up and running by the time I post this
news bulletin. Whilst waiting I have been working on tidying up
both the DeeP Music and The News of the Victory sites and have attempted
to make the navigation a little clearer throughout both, whilst
updating information and generally making things look a little more
interesting. Apart from incorporating some better looking Flash
buttons on The NotV site (maybe not a stunning feature, but it feels
like quite an achievement
) I have included a very short video
of the samba band at this year's Rose Fair, courtesy of YouTube
on the KLCSB page. I hope you enjoy
it. With any luck it might interest you enough to want to come along
to rehearsals and join in with us
? You can see there is still
some space on the lorry for extra players at next year's Rose Fair,
for which we have already been booked. We shall certainly be looking
to recruit new people after Christmas, although lapsed sambistas
would be welcome to come along anytime. Hope to see you soon.
of all, many apologies to anyone who may have tried to view this
website over the past few weeks, specially if you were hoping to
see new information! For some reason, and for several weeks, I have
been unable to log on to the site in order to edit the pages that
needed a little tweaking (and yes, the bills have all been paid!).
It was the last straw when the site disappeared altogether for a
few days. The company which has provided my internet services for
the past nine years ignored my phone calls and e-mails requesting
support and an explanation. After nearly three weeks of being ignored
I made arrangements to move the site to another hosting company's
server. If you have ever played this particular game you will know
it involves getting the present host to release the domain so that
it can be registered with the new provider ... see where this is
heading? Since I was unable to get any response from the old provider
I believe that's Catch 22. Thankfully there is a body that deals
with .co.uk registrations who agreed (after I had explained the
situation and provided proof of identity) to over-ride the usual
procedure and allow me to register the change myself, which I did
on 17th October. It has taken from then till now for various computers
to click and whirr so that I can get access to a new server on which
to upload the site. Still the fact that you are reading this tale
means it is up and running ... at last!
Music activity has taken me back to schools in Mileham, Yaxham and
Walpole Cross Keys. This week I also took the DeeP Sound Show
to Balfour Junior School in Brighton. Quite a trek and not enough
time to explore the city (I didn't realise it was a city till I
saw the signs bidding me welcome). Many thanks to staff and Y3 pupils
who made the day fun and I trust they discovered something new about
the nature of sound.
King's Lynn Community Samba Band continues to rumble along.
Many thanks to the small and dedicated band of regulars who keep
the continuity going while so many others explore more of a revolving
door form of participation. We are very keen to attract a larger,
more stable group. We have bookings in the diary and are continuing
to receive enquiries. A larger group can provide a more impressive
sound, specially if all members of the group have attended enough
rehearsals so they know what they are doing. Come along and try
us out. You may enjoy it. Playing loud percussion is just the antidote
to so many of life's frustrations!
live bands have been busy. Hoofbeat has had an active summer
and is settling nicely with its latest lineup and is getting ready
for more outdoor performances ... in December! We've added some
new music to the repertoire, including a new composition from me.
News of the Victory has two public ceilidhs coming up. Strange
how we go for months on a diet of weddings and other private functions.
Then two public ceilidhs come up within four days of each other.
Check out the details here.
We've also been booked to play at Swanton Morley for next year's
Dereham Festival. That should be fun too. We introduced several
of my new tunes when we played in Bury at the end of September to
a small but very appreciative dance crowd. I've also been calling
dances for Hodmedod, Beatroot and Peach Fruit.
holidays to all!
visit back to England for a wedding reception ceilidh with The News
of the Victory. It was a good one too. How nice when people want
to dance! Have been to a couple of the Tour Au Loup performances
of Brin de Montagne given by La Compagnie de St Romain in Reignier,
Haute-Savoie, this week. Unfortunately, several of these spectacular
outdoor shows have been rained off. Photographs from this year's
performances can be found here.
My musical setting of Bruno Forel's text can be heard in the second
scene, complete with an amazing dancing wolf routine choreographed
by Anne Chomlafel.
taken the opportunity to see some interesting musical performances
this month. It makes a change to watch others perform. I was fortunate
to take in two Proms on the same day. One featuring stunning symphonies
by Bernstein and Ives and a world premier of a new orchestral piece,
Substratum, by Sam Hayden. The other was an early music performance
including the great 40-part "Spem in alium" by Tallis
and the first performance in over three hundred years of the Mass
by Alessandro Striggio, "Ecco si beato giorno" that apparently
inspired it. This piece breaks spectacularly into 60 parts towards
the end. The following day I saw Brazilian band, Monobloco, perform
in Norwich. Truly music for the mind, spirit and the body in one
that there has been no news update here for so long. The last few
weeks have been busy. Good thing too considering so many schools
shut their doors to visitors during May, when SATs become a priority.
Pleased to report lots of percussion workshops and interesting composition
workshops within and extending outside the normal boundary and into
North Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.
Music Works received an Awards for All grant to encourage groups
in West and North Norfolk to experiment with one-off music "taster"
sessions. I have lead several samba and djembe workshops under this
scheme for a variety of groups.
last few days have been particularly exciting with five Children's
Our World Festivals, and gigs with The News of the Victory, Hoofbeat
and the King's Lynn Community Samba Band over the weekend just gone.
Tomorrow I make what appears to be an annual visit to Caister High
School to support their samba lessons with an input of outside ideas.
Grooves performance last night was a resounding success. The group
gave a performance (of the piece devised in the workshops) before
the main City of London Sinfonia concert kicked off in the King's
Lynn Corn Exchange and a confident performance it was too. Well
done and thanks to all. Listen to a recording of the piece in rehearsal
an exciting few days. The Latin Grooves project, a collaboration
between Norfolk Music Works and the City of London Sinfonia took
off last week. What fun to lead a project like this! The participating
youngsters are all aged between 10 and 17 and we have a 19-piece
band consisting of percussion (lots of it including marimba and
vibes), flutes, saxes, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, electric guitars,
bass, cello and drumkit. In two days the group devised a new piece
which is still without a proper title. It'll probably end up just
being called "Latin Grooves" or (if Mark Fawcett has his
way ... and why not?) "Latino Groover". We shall perform
the piece just before the CLS begin their programme at the King's
Lynn Corn Exchange on Thursday, 26th April. My thanks to Mark for
his support and work over those two days and the days to come and
special thanks to Lee Butler, Tim Gunnell and David Whitson from
the orchestra. This is proving to be a good project and it's great
having such fab musicians to work with. As ever, my thanks to Ema
Holman and Jennie Clarke at NMW for the sterling leg work involved
in setting up projects like this.
saw the first outing for the revamped DeeP Sound Show at Bretton
Woods School in Peterborough. The day has been organised by the
school in collaboration with Walton School as part of their integration
project in preparation for both schools' closure at the end of this
term and their amalgamation into a brand new media and arts specialist
school, The Voyager School, in September. It's the first time a
secondary school has taken the show, which I actually put together
with key stage two in mind. It was useful to get feedback (fortunately
not much of it through the p.a. system, though!) from the music
and science staff from both schools who felt that it was useful
for students and for teachers to see how a musician tackles the
task of explaining scientific ideas. Sixteen of the Y7 students
took part in devising a new electronic soundscape (with voice and
tabla contributions) celebrating The Voyager School's creation.
Thanks to all at the school for making me very welcome and for the
enthusiastic response to the DeeP Sound Show which I now know meets
some of the requirements for teaching about energy at KS3!
few months ago I led a series of African drumming workshops at Scaltback
Middle School in Newmarket for a small group of pupils. Today it
was the turn of the staff to get an insight into the fun to be had
and the concentration required for learning a multi-part rhythm
in a short amount of time. This will feed into the school's ongoing
tended to put links to other sites as they seem relevant to a
topic. However, not everything fits in neatly, so I am thinking
of adding a dedicated links page. Until I organise this properly
I'd like to acknowledge the support of some of the DeeP Music's
supporters who aren't mentioned elsewhere. Thanks to Pete Shaw
for his informative Peterborough
Folk Diary of listings and events. Similarly thanks go to
Martin Kiff for the extraordinary Webfeet
database of folk information. More locally, see Wisbech
Folk Club's nice green website!
that February seems to have slipped past without anything much
happening. Actually that's not true. It's just that I didn't write
any information about it.
King's Lynn Community Samba Band is going from strength to strength.
It is very exciting that our recent recruitment drive attracted
a number of new players, some of whom even came back after their
first time with us! It looks like we are really going to be
able to undertake some performances under our own name this
year. During the past couple of years the only way we have been
able to muster a credible force was to play with Eastern Bloco.
Whilst that has been a great experience it is good to have the
choice and to be able to offer our music within our own local
community. We have received some interest for carnivals and
the like for this summer, so watch this space and the samba
pages for further news.
Hoofbeat is picking
up again. Despite being on our 4th accordian player and having
slimmed the percussion line to one person, we have been reworking
old material and breaking in new pieces. I'm really pleased
with the way the band is playing two of my compositions. More
to report when dates for the summer are confirmed.
in schools continuing for DeeP Music. There seems to have been
a lot of interest in African music workshops recently and I
have taken these to schools in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Surrey
over the past month. Interest in composition workshops coming
in from as far away as Scunthorpe! It sounds like a long distance,
but actually it looks closer than Ipswich from DeeP Music hq.
projects are ongoing in Mileham, Walpole Cross Keys and Yaxham.
At Walpole Cross Keys the pupils are composing soundscapes inspired
by Wes McGee's poem, "Woodland Haiku". At the moment
we are working on recording and editing their ideas using the
wonders of Logic running on an Apple notebook computer to manipulate
new project, "Latin Grooves" announced, by Norfolk
Music Works. I shall be taking the lead as resident composer
working with members of the City of London Sinfonia and young
musicians from Fakenham along with their tutor, Mark Fawcett.
The devised work will form part of the pre-concert programme
for the CLS concert at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn on 26th
last I can report that the phones and e-mail seem to be working
again as they should. I'm like a kid in a toy shop with the
new whizzy broadband connection. I've been playing with the
MySpace page for The
News of the Victory and that has encouraged me to look around
the site a bit.What a lot of fantastically talented people there
are in the world. What amazing times we live in to enjoy all
these connections. BB (before broadband, not a reference to
a certain reality television experience) my trips to MySpace
and YouTube were spoiled by the stuttering music and non-moving
movies. Not any more. I really must do some work. Music to copy
for yet another new violinist who will be depping for Steve
in March. Keep an eye on the fiddlers
page of the NotV section if you are interested.
King's Lynn Community Samba Band is going through some changes
at the moment. Following a publicity drive we have been able
to attract a whole lot of new people. In fact we have been doubling
the numbers at rehearsals. While it is yet early days to see
how many will want to stay it looks as though we could well
end up with enough members to start taking on bookings under
our own name again. It's been a few years since we could do
that. Of course, before we get to that stage we all have a lot
of ground to cover. I'm very excited about the prospects here.
Of course we still intend to perform with Eastern Bloco. Reps
from the constituent bands meet soon to decide this year's programme.
apologies, but the e-mail problem is also affecting phone calls
to the landline. Corrections are in hand and, hopefully, all
should be working properly by the end of next week. The good
news is that e-mails are now getting through again!
New Year for 2007!