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Bouncing Buskers

Bouncing Buskers

Bouncing Buskers

This photo of friends and musicians, Claudia Stark and Lisa Von H, totally encapsulates the atmosphere at The Phoenix Cultural Centre‘s Big Busk in Woking Town centre on Saturday. We had all come together to celebrate music, community and culture in Woking. It was hoped that we would also be celebrating the signing of the lease on Quake nightclub, to be renamed Fiery Bird, as the next phase in the Phoenix project. Sadly the lease deadline passed, once again, without any further word on the completion! Get Surrey posted that “the council said it is looking into the matter”. Neither this latest let-down or the freezing cold could stop us partying though! I’m so proud to be part of this project and to have been part of this brilliant, fun event too.

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Amy

Amy Turk

Amy

Have I mentioned all the amazing musicians and creatives that I am blessed to know? Maybe once or twice 😉 Yesterday brought a few of us together at my friend, Julia’s, studio and rehearsal space for the filming of Amy Turk’s forthcoming YouTube release. I brought the studio backdrop, captured a few stills, Julia and Simon cooked a Tagine, Ben and John filmed and Amy provided the day’s soundtrack on harp. I love watching Amy play. It’s seemingly effortless and absolutely mesmerising. Her arms and hands flow through the moves of some graceful ballet and the music follows her lead. I love photographing musicians performing live, as it gives me a way to try to capture the essence and emotion of their performance, the connection between artist and instrument. So this is Amy, captured while lost in the music, in harmony with her harp. I’m putting this into this week’s Fotospeed challenge and I hope everyone will be enchanted and intrigued to follow this LINK for Amy’s YouTube channel. The new video will be aired very soon! I hope to be bringing more news from Julia K’s Firespark Records and Studios soon.

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WPC: A Good Match – Jonas And Jane

Jonas and Jane

WPC: A Good Match – Jonas And Jane

Jonas and Jane performed on Saturday night at The Wilfrid Noyce Centre in Godalming alongside Backwoods Creek and The Nefarious Picaroons. A night of Americana, Country and Stomped-up Pop in aid of Skillway, the charity chosen by the Mayor of Godalming.

Jonas and Jane are an Americana Duo from the UK who consist of harmony driven and bluegrass influenced folk. They have toured Texas, Colorado and Arizona and have played many UK festivals including two stages at Maverick Americana Festival in 2015 and the main stage at Carfest South 2015 to over 35,000 people, following a live performance of their song ‘Whispered’ on the Chris Evans BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show in August 2015.

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Nefarious

Ashley Paddon from The Nefarious Picaroons

Nefarious

On Saturday night we went to a charity concert in Godalming. With such rubbish weather I knew it was probably my only opportunity to get an image to put into today’s Fotospeed weekend-photography challenge! I am working on a complete set of the three bands that were playing for my Facebook page but, until then, I decided to process a couple of my photos of Ashley Paddon, from The Nefarious Picaroons. It was hard deciding which to go for as the entry but I think my lead image would make a great, colourful print! What do you all think?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Meg Barwell

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Music and lighting really is the embodiment of ambience! I prefer my music LIVE and ORIGINAL. Fortunately, there is an abundance of musical talent in my area with many local, live-music venues and promoters! I am blessed to be able to call some of these fantastic musicians my friends and artistic collaborators. I love discovering new music! Open-mic nights are a great way to support local talent and and enjoy an eclectic mix of musical genres.

One Winter’s Night is the brainchild of Guildford based promoter and musician Gavin Thomas. Produced every January by GT Live Sessions, this concert is a collection of acoustic performances at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. It was fantastic to watch my friends Richard and Calliopi, from Cardboard Carousel, and Claudia Stark perform on a big stage where they truly belong! The lighting design from John Harris along with the subtle staging from Liza Cheal and Jamie Barber, of the Yvonne Arnaud, added yet more ambience to what was a magical evening of music from the community, for the community.

Thanks to sponsorship from KP Snacks Limited, all the money raised on the night will be donated to two local charities, Challengers and The Onslow Ward at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. Challengers are an independent charity, developing and delivering inclusive play and leisure for disabled children and young people across Surrey, Hampshire and the surrounding areas. Onslow Ward is the inpatient unit for Oncology and Haematology at the Royal Surrey Hospital. The ward is in desperate need of a powered hoist that can be positioned by any bed on the ward, enabling a single nurse/carer to safely move patients in and out of the beds. I know the Royal Surrey Hospital very well myself as it is where I was first admitted with Crohn’s nearly twenty two years ago. They saved my life. My first stay as an inpatient was for about six weeks so I know how much of a difference a hoist like this will mean to both staff and patients alike!

The Dirty Carols and Sophie & Vikki

Tom Gortler

Claudia Stark

Keith Bayley featuring Gavin Thomas

Eva Perrin Fontana

Cardboard Carousel

Portland

Meg Barwell

Bare Jams

And finally…..

I’ve also put together a compilation video of the nights’ performances for your enjoyment! Please note that The Dirty Carols recreate songs that you may know well, BUT with alternate and slightly rude (sometimes, oh okay, most of the time!) lyrics. If you are playing this video to younger people, or are of a sensitive nature, then you may forward through (or mute) their hilarious songs. No offence is intended or taken!

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Every Day Is Different: Day 4

Hazel O'Connor

Every Day Is Different: Day 4

Every Day Is Different

Today didn’t start very well but it certainly ended on a high note! I was up less little more than an hour before having to take myself straight back to bed. I remembered to set an an alarm as I had an important date to make this evening! Having got up for the second time, I threw on some clothes, fed the cats and rushed off to get the train up to London to meet Simon and our friend Julia. Our destination was the beautiful Union Chapel venue in Islington for a 35th Anniversary screening of the film Breaking Glass.

Hazel and her band receiving applause

This was followed by a Q&A with Hazel O’Connor, a performance with her band, Sarah Fisher and Clare Hirst, who were then joined by a full choir in front of an audience that really was packed to the rafters! I was able to copy a couple of images from my camera onto my phone to process on the train returning home. The rest of my photos today were taken on the phone, including a lovely one of me and Simon that Julia kindly took for us! Lots of interesting purples for #PurpleFriday including Heather’s dress 🙂

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Travel Theme: Above

Travel Theme: Above

Ailsa’s theme this week was based around images that she’d taken above various subjects and landscapes. My own take on this challenge is of a subject that was above me! No it’s not a UFO, or Christmas lights. This is part of the lighting rig for Peter Gabriel‘s Back To Front tour, which Simon and I went to this week at Wembley Arena. I wasn’t an official photographer for this concert so all images were taken on my compact camera. I was very impressed by the staging and production design for the tour. The lighting was kept simple but produced in an innovative way, bringing an extra sense of theatre to a fantastic performance, with a great twist at the end!

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NaBloPoMo – Saturday Night Music

NaBloPoMo – Saturday Night Music

Tonight’s music was brought to us by the brilliant STEViE – One Bloke One Mandolin. The observant among you will notice that he also has a Mandola and a Banjo! Stevie Simpson is one of the very best songwriters that I have the pleasure of knowing 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

Salvation

Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

The Last Post is a mass participation project that has seen communities across the UK playing the Last Post on a variety of different instruments to remember lives of World War One.  In Woking, our event was organised by Andy Mabbutt from The Phoenix Cultural Centre and hosted by Eddie Jones at The Trench Experience shop and Upcycling Centre.

The Trench Experience shop was the ideal setting for our event. The Charity was founded by Eddie Jones in 2005 and has just started work on a permanent base for the educational project, on land beside Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey. The site will be developed in real-time to the events of the First World War, leading up to a Victory Celebration in 2018. The charity has chosen The Artists Rifle Regiment to illustrate trench conditions. The Artists fought as a battalion and were in the thick of the fighting with the Royal Naval Division at Passchendaele and Ypres. I’m really excited about this open-air, living history museum!

Cllr Tony Branagan, the Mayor of Woking, opened the event and welcomed us all. We honoured the memory of the Artist’s Rifles with prose and poetry from Greg Freeman, of the Woking Writers Circle, and also from me. Wilfred Owen is one of the best known members of the Artist’s Rifles and his poetry was a huge inspiration to me from my school days. I felt it was fitting to read a number of his poems including, Beauty and Anthem For Doomed Youth, two of my favourites and incredibly moving pieces. I also read my recently penned homage to Blood Swept Lands.

Vic Cracknell took us on a journey through the music of the era which brought back memories for many of us, young and old. My Great Aunt Jo was always singing with us when we were children and I was probably one of the most vocal members of the audience during the sing-a-long when Vic launched into She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain! Voices rose all around the shop for It’s A Long Way To Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles. One of the most moving moments of the event came as Vic read an actual letter from the Grandfather he never met, back home to his family about having been wounded in action and losing an arm. It was full of reassurance to loved ones and gratitude for all the help he was receiving. Such an upbeat letter considering such dire circumstances!

A great achievement bringing several of Woking’s community groups together to put on such a successful and moving event!