Tuesday, 21 February 2012


You'd think a percussionist would have a finger on the pulse and know exactly how time flies, wouldn't you! GRIN.  I can't believe so much has happened since my last post ... to be fair, quite a lot of it's been organising and rehearsing for upcoming gigs - and Dream will be recording the rest of our album in March, so there's a lot of hard work going on here behind the scenes!

DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES!* please contact me if you need any further information about any of these gigs, I know I haven't given much detail, but time's running out again!

DREAM - please check www.myspace.com/dreamsounds for full details
Thursday 22 March                Olive's Bar, Leicester
Sunday 6 May                          Joule's Yard, Market Harborough
Wednesday 23 May                  Brixworth, Northants
Sunday 24 June                        The Musician, Leicester
Saturday 30 June                      The Green Place, Sileby
Monday 2 July                          Monty's Acoustic Club, East Goscote
Tuesday 4 September              Acoustic Knights, Sutton Cheney

Saturday 10 March                   The Old Crown Inn, Fleckney
Saturday 7 April                        (oooh, i don't know where!)
Monday 7 May                           Castle Donington 
Saturday 3 March                     Sage Cross Church, Melton Mowbray
Saturday 7 July                          Hosenbury Festival, Hose

An exciting new project with Jude Winwood ... kora piano balafon percussion ...
Monday 5 March                      Monty's Acoustic Club, East Goscote
Saturday 7 July                         Hosenbury Festival, Hose

To be fair, I have also been teaching djembe students in local primary schools, and running the odd full day workshop here and there across the region, as well as meetings with longstanding clients and some new ones, but I guess the most unusual job has been with the puppeteers!

A long drive up to Caroline Astell Burt's Yorkshire base, Grassington, for another project with her fantastically creative puppetry students.  Every percussion instrument in my vast collection was available for use in "The Marionettes Ball!"  An improvised performance, operators were either on stage with their marionettes, or at the percussion station, improvising a sound score for the action on stage.  Wendy Cook had already given the students an insight into improvised performance (in the style of Merce Cunningham, one of my choreographic idols), and it was a chance to play with music, movement and puppets in a beautiful part of the country.  I look forward to more projects later this year, so much creativity and craftmanship in one place ...

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


I must just tell you, I had a fantastic day at Highcliffe Primary School in Birstall, Leicestershire, yesterday! 

Year 6 have been working on a project about Ghana in West Africa, and both classes of 35 children had two one hour sessions with me.  They then performed their pieces on djembe, doun douns and a variety of hand percussion to the rest of KS2 at the end of the day.  We all learned a new chant together, and within 24 hours I already have 8 new children signed up for private drumming lessons!

It's always so rewarding to find children so interested and engaged, not only in the rhythms and instruments, but wanting to find out about how the instruments are made, and what life is like where they come from.  The brilliant thing about returning each year to a school is that children remember what they learned the previous year, teachers have the opportunity to enjoy seeing their pupils so enthused and on task with a visiting artist, and I know where find the teabags and biscuits!!!

I rushed home and after walking the dog and a snooze in the armchair, made it to Acoustic Knights for a headline performance with Phil Riley - what a great evening!  First Tuesday of every month, and Bob Spencer manages to attract a different line up each time, from solo singer/songwriters, to younger more contemporary performers, blues officionados (how on earth do you spell that word!?!) ... beginners to more seasoned performers, the club has a great cabaret atmosphere, stage and lighting, and everyone is respectful and supportive of all the different kinds of music.  Within a few days Bob has photographs and a few words on his website about the evening, so do check it out!

The trouble with days like yesterday, when I got up at 05.30am and went to bed at 01.30am some 20 hours later, it takes me a day to recover!