A legend who very much helped guide me towards being a professional musician is having his 60th birthday party.
Back in 2007 I was asked to perform at a one day event for Impact Theatre Company in Acton (West London). The following year I did the same, however this time I was asked if I’d be interested in teaching some music/songwriting lessons.
So from time to time between touring commitments I have been involved in working with the service users to write songs and hopefully find enjoyment in music. One of the songs was used in a theatre performance the company performed together back in 2012. I attended as an audience member to that and found myself beaming with pride as the chorus belted out the words and melody we had written together.
However this year upon returning from a long stretch of solo shows out in Europe I was asked if I would be interested in working with the company for the music side of their next show ‘I shot the Sheriff’. A Reggae themed western. Together with another musician Sam we would put together a band which would then perform live as a part of the performance which would include acting, music, dance, puppetry & animation.
Rehearsals took place over April with 4 performances in May. We worked into the set some Reggae classics such as ‘Bad Boys’, ‘No Woman No Cry, & of course ‘I Shot the sheriff’. But it was the original compositions we composed as a group which I believe brought the most joy & pride to the process. Some songs were there to emphasise the story line while others were incidental pieces interweaved with the dialogue.
All in all the experience was a pleasure for me. A chance to step out of the ego bubble that I can find myself in after months of touring and also to feel like I can be useful and productive elsewhere has done wonders for my confidence. Between all of this of course I have kept up the gigging with short tours round England. But I can say with certainty this experience has brought great positivity to my world and emphasises the importance of music and art to all of us.
I will think of these times with great warmth and when I return to London following my next European jaunt I will hope to work with these guys and gals once again.
50 Walsworth Road, Hitchin SG4 9SU
Music from about 9pm
2 Green End, Northampton NN2 6RD
Live Music from about 8pm
Unit 21, Nene Court the Embankment, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire NN8 1LD
So a song that started as a lazy free session with my friend Ollie in Brighton went from having no explicit plan and ended up being released 2 years later on my ‘Bright’ album in 2012.
I then began touring the material and when on the road in New Zealand I had the chance to rehearse for a couple of days. I took this as an opportunity to attempt to make ‘Ons’ a part of the live set through the use of live looping. 3 days later I Debuted ‘Ons’ live at a show in Auckland. Ons went onto be performed in Asia and Europe.
When I returned to the UK this live video was made:
In 2014 I received a message from a musician I respect and admire very deeply. Her name is ‘Haco’ and she had contacted me to request that I send the sound files for ‘Ons’ to her so she can work them into her own music.
About 18 months later I received further correspondence from Haco, She had finished her new album ‘Secret Garden’ and wanted to released ‘Ons’ with her on vocals. Renamed ‘Whitening Shadows’.
In 2015 Haco toured the UK and we performed the song together.
I found it wonderful to think back on the journey the recording had made from Brighton out to Australiasia and then into collaboration in Japan. But the travel did not stop there.
The filmmaker Karen Vanderborght who is based in Toronto had contacted ‘Haco’ expressing a desire to make a video to the song.
And so here it is:
So from 2010 to 2015 and from Brighton to Toronto via Asia what started as an off the cuff jam session has sprouted wings.
Maybe this is not the end of the journey for the Ons. But I must remember it all started with my good friend Ollie.
May we jam again in good time :D.
I can confirm I will be playing Rhythms of the World festival in the UK along with Blue Balls Festival in Switzerland and the Mandrea Festival in Italy.
Hitchin – England, UK – 21st June
Rhythms of the World is led by volunteers, Rhythms of the World (ROTW) is a registered charity that aims to unite diverse communities through music and the arts. This is achieved by organising a range of cultural events, culminating in an annual festival of world music, dance, arts and cuisine in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
The Rhythms of the World festival has evolved into one of the most significant – and best value – world music festivals in the UK, attracting up to 30,000 visitors to the two-day event. People of all ages and backgrounds come from Hertfordshire and beyond to see local community talent perform alongside artists from around the world.
Lucerne – Switzerland – 22nd July
With its 100,000-plus visitors, the Blue Balls Festival is one of Switzerland’s largest music and art events.
The international music fest presents more than 100 events over nine days: blues, jazz, soul, funk, world, rock and pop concerts, accompanied by photography, street art, video, film and talks. What makes it unique is the atmosphere around the bay in Lucerne, the Open-Air Pavilion, the KKL Luzern and the Hotel Schweizerhof with its late-night shows.
Other acts playing this year include: Damien Rice, David Gray, Jamie Callum, Rodrigo y Gabriella & James Bay.
Arco – Italy – 1st August
Set In a beautiful hidden valley in the foothills of the Dolomites above Lake Garda
There are many daytime activities for the rural landscape and music from around the World.
This year will be my first festival booking in Italy despite touring there many times in the past.
Other acts playing this year include: Mad Professor, General Roots, 3 Daft Monkeys, Max Romeo & MC Xander.
69 High Street, Hastings Old Town, East Sussex TN34 3EW, United Kingdom
+44 1424 421392
Live Music From About 5pm
Croft Lodge, 3 Moatcroft Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 1ND
Live Music from about 8.30PM
May has busied itself up out of left field a little. Thus far I have performed out in Wiltshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and South London; And despite only being 8 days in I am venturing to East Sussex tomorrow to play the first of 2 shows.
Next week I venture to the middle of England (Northamptonshire) for a run of 5 shows in 4 days. Before returning south to London where I will perform in a week residency as a member of the house band ‘The Bad ol Boys’ for the Theatre performance ‘I Shot the Sheriff’. A show for and by adults with learning disabilities.
From there I will venture North again to perform in North Herts (Hitchin) on the 23rd May and Later in the month I venture to play Cambridgeshire Gamlingay (a private booking) aswell as Huntingdon.
Pop down to a show if you’re local.