With the occurrence of the Summer Solstice the life of the musician begins to relax.
Since last writing this blog I have been continuing to tare across the country for gigs, workshops, recordings and job interviews but now it is beginning to calm down thankfully.
The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble went on tour which entailed six gigs in prestigious folk venues across the uk. The highlights for me were as always playing at Leek Arts Festival in Staffordshire and Huntingdon Hall in Worcester. The gig in Worcester was particularly poignant. To set the seen the venue is a converted church and the 40 piece band were playing on a modest stage set below the Lecturn. It was the last gig of tour and possibly my last gig with the band. It was probably the tightest gig on the tour and I felt quite emotional after playing with the band for four years and coming to the end of my period of study at the Birmingham Conservatoire. It was a fantastic finish though.
Amongst other gigs I have had a run of performances at the Birmingham International Food Fair in Victoria Square. We did three gigs with N.O.M.A.D and two with The Project Cubano Trio. The performances were mixed as the weather was especially bad for both Cubano gigs and one N.O.M.A.D gig, however the weather was fantastic on the last night of the festival for N.O.M.A.D and it was probably one of the most enjoyable gigs I have played in a long time. Special thanks must go to The Old Dance School's fiddle player Samantha Norman who was covering for Sarah on two occasions. She did a fantastic job and her performance was completely seamless. We were all very impressed.
In the school half term I had the pleasure of recording an EP with the Youth Folk Ensemble 'Wildfire' that I work with. We went out to a stunning mansion in Staffordshire to record the CD. I was incredibly impressed with the level of professionalism shown by the band. The young people were alert and concentrated all day and kept themselves amused during the long periods of waiting around much better than some more experienced bands I have worked with. The percussionist Rosie who I have been working with and teaching for a while really picked up her game for this recording too and I was very proud of her.
As afore mentioned I have been going along to some job interviews at music services. The good news is that someone wants to employ me! Starting in September I will be doing some drum teaching for Hertforshire Music Service. I am not exactly sure what it will entail at the moment but I sense it might be a baptism of fire.
On the 4th of July I am privileged to be performing with the Barbican Youth Folk Ensemble at the main stage at the Barbican centre. A talented team of musicians, which includes Joe Broughton, Paloma Trigas, Ivo De Greef, Tom Chapman, Frank Moon, George Kirkham and myself, have been going into schools and music services across London to teach children about Folk music in preparation for this final concert in which they will all perform together. On the evening before, 3rd of July, I will be performing in London with Joanne Gibson, an incredibly talented tuba player and composer. She has put the poems of twelve year old boy who died of leukaemia to music. Should be a fantastic gig.
I have been preparing to record a new album with David Garside on Frizz Records. On Sunday I will be playing the drum parts to Raph from the label so he can get an idea of how to record them. It is going to be an epic task as he wants to multi-track the album but David's songs are incredibly complex and involve many time signature and tempo changes so making a click track is going to be a nightmare!
Apart from everything I have mentioned I only have a few more gigs before a long awaited summer break. I will leave you with photos from the Food Fair.