Monday, 25 February 2013

Great Start to the Year!

Photography: Andy Melbourne

Pandas in the Sugar Cane … Phil Riley with Julie Wright

Phil and I trialled our set at “On the Verge” in Nottingham on 7 February, which was great preparation for our long awaited cd launch on Monday 18 February at Monty's Acoustic Club, hosted by John Montague who, we're delighted to say, is well enough to be playing and singing again! Following the initial gig at our local venue, with a fantastic crowd in to support us, we had our next tour date at The Old George Inn in Stony Stratford on 20th, where again we were met with an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. Local poet and singer, Theresa Kelleher said, “I enjoyed the diversity of your music; South American rhythms, eastern european influences, roots music . . . Phil has a really warm, rich voice. The dynamics of each song really brought out the emotion in the music, and the mix of solo songs, whole band, piano and range of percussion made for an evening of contrast and cohesion.”

Photography:  Andy Melbourne

On Monday Neil Mercer joined us on mandola, mandolin and whistle, Neil Segrott on fretless bass, John on sound, guitars and backing vocals, and of course Phil and I, with our blend of voice, guitar, piano and percussion. Heidi and Jodie joined us on Wednesday, and we look forward to many more dates on the tour. Next date is Thursday 14 March at The Criterion in Leicester.

The Pandas in the Sugar Cane cd also has Bob Dayfield on electric slide guitar, Chris Conway on Irish whistle, and Jodie McCarthy and Heidi Carascon backing vocals. It was mainly recorded and produced by John Montague at Montysmusic, Fieldview Studio, Leicestershire and on location, except “Northern Star” and “Leaf upon the Wind,” recorded and produced by Greg Tempest at Greg's Music Room, Quorn. All songs written by Phil Riley except “Sally Free and Easy”, written by Cyril Tawney. Sleeve design by Noodle Doodle, Leicester.
Copies can be bought through me or Phil, £9 inc pp – and hopefully online once we've mastered how to make that available :) Call Phil on 07517 401221 for information.

Teaching and Schools
My regular weekly students at Anstey Martin High, Glenfield and Highcliffe Primaries and Stonehill High, continue to make steady progress with their West African drumming. In addition this term I've returned to Hind Leys Academy to work with GCSE music students, and am delivering a CPD Transition Drumming Project on behalf of LSMS and The Leicester Music Hub. This involves two clusters of schools, working with years 6 and 7, training teachers and bringing all the classes together to share their work. All drums have been supplied by LSMS and bought from local world percussion importer Soar Valley Music in Rothley. My annual day with Year 6 for their “Africa Project” at Highcliffe Primary approaches, and with hardly a day off before Easter, things are really busy!