Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014 - May it be a Year of 'Making Music'

Today 1 January, New Year's Day,  is traditionally a day for looking forwards, to things you want to start or do more of and achieve in the year ahead. Top of my 'to do' list for 2014 is 'Making Music' and spending time with others who enjoy 'Making Music'!

The last few years have been pretty momentous ones for me on this front. Music has always been a great passion for me,  we sang together as a family when I was growing up in the countryside outside Usk and I am a fan of many genres of music, with many artists having a place in my music collection. About 6 years ago I started singing with 'The Usk Singing Club' and enjoyed producing a 'choral' sound with others. However, during 2012 -13 Jez and I have taken a further big step together into the wonderful world of 'making music' and we are proud and feel priviliged, to have been welcomed so warmly into the local Monmouthshire music scene and its wonderful community and comradeship of musicians. We have made some wonderful friends through playing music. There is also evidence that making music is good for your health.

There are many talented amateur and professional musicians living and playing in Monmouthshire and there are a wealth of opportunities to listen to and play live music. Many of our local towns and villages hold music festivals and events and open mic sessions abound in pubs and clubs across the county, run by a passionate and dedicated band of volunteers who put in a lot of time and effort for little or no financial reward. I have listed some of the best ones at the bottom of this page. To all the organisers, thank you all for encouraging and facilitating live music performances like you do.

Over the last eighteen months I have done things I never thought I would ever do musically. I have learned (after a limited fashion anyway) to play drums (Cajon and Djembe) and I am also learning to play the ukulele. What's more, much to my own amazement, I am now actually part of a five piece blues rock band 'Twysted River' who are going from strength to strength. As a new band, we have been on a steep but thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding learning curve together. We have enjoyed playing some very special gigs for charity, including Monmouth Raft Race and last night we ended 2013 on a high, playing out the old year and welcoming in the new with a gig at The Royal British Legion Club Usk. It is a fantastic feeling seeing people enjoy themselves - dancing and having fun to the music you are making.

Some talented and lucky people can and do earn a living 'making music', but for most of us involved, doing this is not really about making money - its about the sheer joy that is experienced in joining with others in making and enjoying music together. The satisfaction of being able to sing and/ or learning to play an instrument well enough to join in and jam with others, or to play in a band and to create a harmonious sound for others to laugh, sing and dance and celebrate life and all its many facets of sorrow, joy and love. Making music is simply and wonderfully a way of expressing them all and that is why it is top of my list for 'must dos' for 2014.

Long may the unique and special fellowship of music making continue!

 A Very Happy 2014!
Twysted River playing at Monmouth Raft Race Sept 2013 L-R Julian Leybourne; Me; Jez Bosanquet; Garry Catchpole and Stewart Charters

Further Information

Twysted River - Blues Rock Band

Chepstow Acoustic Music Club

The Beaufort Hotel Raglan - Open Mic

The Millers Arms Mathern - Open Mic 

The Lion Inn Trellech - Open Mic

The Kings Arms Abergavenny - Open Mic

The New Court Usk - Open Mic - mainly jazz genre musicians

The Kings Head Abergavenny - Open Mic

Festivals in Monmouthshire

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