I’m a big fan of Maureen Ni Fiann and Cinzia Apreda who launched the Clevedon Community Bandstand Project during the Clevedon Literary Festival in 2021. They achieved this through Arts Council Funding and their aim was to bring free, vibrant multicultural music to our iconic Victorian bandstand.
The project has been a huge success and they are currently in the throes of planning a very exciting Autumn Celebration.
Culture Weston has also launched a series of free, outdoor live music events this summer taking place at bandstands and stages around the town. They are collaborating with Loves Café https://www.lovesweston.co.uk and St George’s Bristol. https://www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk with support from the Weston BID.
I was delighted to hear that Culture Weston and our Clevedon Bandstand team who have mutual aims and values are now working collaboratively and sharing their very diverse skill sets, ideas and contacts. Who knows what will come of this but one thing is for sure it will mean more live music, spoken word and cultural opportunities in our two neighbouring towns.
In the spirit of collaboration, this blog post shares the remainder of Culture Weston’s wonderful live summer music programme.
SISTER COOKIE: SATURDAY 13TH AUGUST – 6.00 PM TO 7:30 PM GROVE PARK BANDSTAND
A soulful vocal talent from London via Lagos, charismatic Sister Cookie delivers a unique blend of jazz, rhythm & blues and soul. Possessing a powerful voice that’s tender and sweet when it needs to be, she performs a combination of original material (all written and arranged by Cookie herself), lesser-known covers, and one or two well-known covers that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.
Having scooped the prestigious Record Store Day Unsigned 2020 award, Sister Cookie unveiled Can’t Get It When You Want It around about this time last year, the first single to be lifted from her debut album, In The Blue Corner.
Talking about the track, Cookie said:
“I was inspired by the sultry siren songs of Eartha Kitt and Nina Simone, through the big bold sassy rhythm & blues of Dinah Washington and Lavern Baker, and all the way back into to the sound of Bessie Smith. From start to finish, a cool, mellow minor key swing in the verses is punctuated by a sense of urgency in the rhythm section… focusing on the dark side of love & sensuality… that desperate, painful ache of longing offset against coquettish teasing.”
The video was filmed by photographer David Wren as part of a personal project called My World, My Rules following people whose fascinating lives and unique careers inspire others to dream big, follow their hearts and show that you can live outside the boundaries of normality, speaking about the resulting video he says:
“Cookie’s voice is powerful and brilliant; combining that with her personality and stage presence she really kick-started this whole project. I love how this video has come together, showing how creative minds can combine forces and come away with a video that shows the true artist. The real Sister Cookie.”
“I just love this woman’s voice!” – Craig Charles, BBC 6Music
“An early contender for album of the year…a fantastic album” Blues Matters
“The most original sound. Like Little Richard, Mark Ronson, Nina Simone and Nick Cave all got locked in a New Orleans speakeasy” – Record Store Day
HOLLY CARTER: SUNDAY 14TH AUGUST – 2.00 PM TO 4.00 PM MARINE LAKE BANDSTAND
Holly Carter is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Bristol. At 26 years old, she has already established a reputation as one of Bristol’s leading fingerstyle guitarists and one of the UK’s only professional female pedal steel players.
Through a decade of live performance and session work, Holly has not only developed an undeniable technical ability on the guitar and pedal steel but is also held in high esteem as a tasteful and sensitive session player.
In addition to her extensive experience playing with artists such as Bristol-based Americana songstress Lady Nade and award-winning songwriter and slide guitarist Martin Harley, Holly is a gifted songwriter and solo performer. Drawing inspiration from a varied musical upbringing steeped in the likes of Gillian Welch, Paul Simon and The Manic Street Preachers, her songs weave joyously catchy melodies with lyrics that pay homage to a diverse collection of musical and personal heroes.
GASPER NALI: FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST – 7.00 PM TO 8.30 PM – GROVE PARK BANDSTAND
Gasper Nali is a roots one-man band from the small town of Nkhata Bay on the shores of Lake Malawi. He plays a one-string homemade 3-metre long Babatoni bass guitar with a stick and an empty beer bottle, and together with a cow skin kick drum and catchy melodies, he creates the most amazing and danceable original Afro Beats possible!
Gasper’s unique style of Kwela music has received an extraordinary amount of online attention after a video of him playing by the lake shore went viral with over 20 million views. He has been featured by CNN and in the documentary ‘Deep Roots Malawi’, jammed with Joss Stone, appeared on Wired for Sound – Malawi, remixed by Aroop Roy for Sol Power Sounds and been played by Iggy Pop on BBC 6.
His debut album, Abale Ndikuwuzeni, roughly translates to ‘People, I want to tell you’. It is a fitting title as Gasper’s songs, all sung in the Malawi national language of Chichewa, talk about life and strife in the country, often including social issues such as the rich and the poor, child marriages etc.
After the successful Euro/UK tours in 2018 and 2019 Gasper has been biding his time in Malawi, writing new music and playing locally around Nkhata Bay the way he always has.
“His music is simple but joyous, and totally infectious” * * * * – Songlines
“Gasper Nali’s unique style of music has received an extraordinary amount of online attention after a video of him playing by the lake shore went viral with more than 18 million views. He has been featured by CNN, jammed with Joss Stone, appeared on Wired for Sound – Malawi, and has also been featured on BBC 6 Music.” World Music Central
THEO MIZU SUNDAY 21ST AUGUST – 2.00 PM TO 4.00 PM – ITALIAN GARDENS STAGE
An afternoon of live music from Theo Mizu – a fusion of Brazilian and Eastern Music, once crowned the Best Street band in São Paulo!
With a dream of travelling the world and his love for music, Theo has chosen the world as home, travelling with his music, getting in contact with diverse musical and cultural influences and performing in festivals and venues all around the world. Using music as a universal language, Theo offers, through diverse melodies and instruments, a deep sensorial experience to his listeners.
With a fusion of eastern and western musical references, Theo Mizú & Banda features an original repertoire that is danceable and universal, promising to captivate all kinds of public.
The band was elected the Best Street Music Band in São Paulo and has already played in many international festivals and venues around Brazil, Europe and Asia.
TANGO CALOR TRIO: SUNDAY 28 AUGUST – 3.00 pm TO 3.30 pm GROVE PARK BANDSTAND
An afternoon of live music from Tango Calor Trio Spanish folk band that will take you on a journey from the nightclubs of Buenos Aires to the salons of Paris.
Tango Calor is one of the most exciting tango bands performing in the UK. The trio was started by bandoneon player Mirek Salmon in Bristol in 2016 with jazz pianist and film composer Daan Temmink and Cuban vocal sensation Indira Roman.
The band has performed in tango clubs and festivals up and down the country and gains new fans wherever they play. Recently they have appeared in festivals in Italy and have accompanied visiting artists from Argentina. Mirek has also played with the London Tango Orchestra and has performed Piazzolla chamber works with members of the orchestra of the Welsh National Opera.
SWEET AND THE LOW DOWNS: SATURDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER, – 6.00 PM TO 7.30 PM GROVE PARK BANDSTAND
The Sweet & Lowdown are a modern 4-piece party and wedding band from Brighton, with years of experience in the music industry.
The band play slamming renditions and intricate medleys of your favourite artists, such as Fleetwood Mac, Blondie, The Beatles, Toto, Queen, Outkast, Mary J Blige… and maybe even Rage Against The Machine (if you ask them!)
With years of hundreds of gigs under their belts, The Sweet & Lowdown sound as musically tight as you’d expect for a band comprised of two brothers and two schoolmates – they’ve been playing together for as long as they can remember.
Band member’s credits include playing with Bat For Lashes and 30 Seconds To Mars as well as composing for TV documentaries and performing all over the world. They’ve played at venues such as Larmer Tree and Cripps Barn, and for clients including John Lewis, Lloyds TSB, SSQ, Smyle Creative and Sisdoq.
ANITA FARMINE: SATURDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER – 6.00 PM – GROVE PARK BANDSTAND
French Iranian singer-songwriter with a voice that resounds like a cry from the east. Middle Eastern Mezze is available from Sprout Cafe.
Anita Farmine has a hugely interesting background. It is in Iran in full political upheaval and just at the dawn of the Islamic revolution that she sings her first note in 1978.
Her parents, a French mother and an Iranian father, both politically active teachers change her surname to Farmine F.A.R.M.I.N. the initials of Fight Against Racism Monarchy Imperialism and Nazism
Anita attended an American school from an early age. Of her childhood in the heart of this chaotic Iran, she has few memories, apart from bomb threats. When Anita is five years old, unable to continue living in a system they do not approve of, her parents decide to emigrate to Algeria.
A new start for Anita Farmine, this time in a French school, surrounded by children of like-minded teachers from all over the world, from Poles to Peruvians, transient children from Black Africa, in a multicultural, multi-faith environment which most certainly influenced her music.
It was during these two years in Algeria, among these people from all over the world, that she discovered the possibilities of music and the universal language of emotion.
And finally, at the age of 7, she discovers her mother’s homeland. Dunkirk welcomes her; her teacher leads the music lessons with his guitar and each time Anita is overwhelmed with emotion. The influence of La Callas inspires her to enrol in a music school where she began opera singing and classical piano at the age of nine. Following a move to Orleans three years later, she continues to learn the piano and retains this irrepressible desire to sing. While listening to the Doors, Pink Floyd and Bob Marley, Anita studied English at university. At 24, she is seriously committed to singing. She integrates several music groups, of different styles and gives singing lessons.
Iranian, Algerian, and Anglo-Saxon cultures, Anita Farmine has learned a lot and has built her identity, but she feels her true place is in France. It was only at the age of 27 that she begins to write and compose. And the good news is that Anita will be playing at the Clevedon Bandstand’s Autumn Celebration the next day on Sunday, September 18th.
HAZIR ENSEMBLE: SATURDAY 8TH OCTOBER – 2.00 PM TO 3.30 PM – GROVE PARK BANDSTAND
Hazir play their own intoxicating, high-energy, shimmy-inspiring interpretations of popular, folk and classical melodies, songs and rhythms from across the Middle East, Turkey and beyond. They create these beautiful, evocative sounds using an array of Middle Eastern Percussion, Oud, Saz, Zurna, Piano Accordion, Clarinet, Violin and Classical Kemence. Often showcasing top-class Middle Eastern Dance artists, Hazir are an ideal live music act for dance events, workshops, restaurants, recording sessions, village halls, concert halls, festivals and celebrations of all kinds. They are sure to go down a hit at Grove Park and I for one would love to see them at Clevedon.
All the best to Cutlure Weston, Loves Cafe and the Weston BID team who like our own Clevedon BID team are keen to promote “outstanding cultural and heritage-based activity’ in the heart of our towns.