Coming Down from the Heights…
It is never certain that the plans we put into place are ever going to be realised, or that the things we put into place are going to work. The important thing is to try. Viva Musica at The Fuse on Saturday could not have gone much better, and like all such events we got it 95% right because we planned way in advance and took our time to invite the right people along to work with us.
I loved doing my set, but can’t remember much of it. In any case I will leave it to others to judge it! The quality of the other performances was astonishing, with Under A Banner’s incredible acoustic gig setting a very high bar for the evening. The others just rose to the challenge and we were treated to a varied mix of acoustic music and voices that you would have paid a lot more to see.
But Viva Musica was not about making money, nor will any future event that Miguel F.A. and I organise. It will remain a Friends & Family, invitation only event. We will just build a bigger family, and it really doesn’t matter whether that takes one year or twenty. The music industry generally seems to be the domain of a few organisations who want to profit obscenely from the art and creation of others, and we don’t want any part of that.
Saturday proved that live independent music is well worth supporting. We witnessed fabulous musicianship, courage in trying things for the first time, different versions of recorded songs, multiple collaborations with Matt being at the heart of it all, and an inspiring sense of camaraderie and fun that actually started before anyone else showed up!
I drove over to The Fuse early partly because there is little or no phone signal in the building, and I needed to rehearse as well as meet Miguel to sort any last minute potential banana skins. There was an annoying beep in the auditorium that only Simon knows how to sort, and as he had still not arrived I sat in the atrium with my cittern and the sound in there was mind blowing.
Miguel and I set up the Gym Jam – jam sessions in the sports hall – and as I sat there with my guitar, he took out his mouth organ and we jammed a version of The Burning Gates of Hell. The jams and demos that followed involved accomplished and novice musicians and everyone took something good away from the afternoon.
The evening collaborations resulted from an email I sent to everyone back at the start of the year, inviting everyone to use the fantastic pool of musicians who had agreed to perform. So we had Matt Steady playing violin for Under A Banner, joining Duncan on two songs, the Lewinskies for several, and both bass and violin for The Folded Arms set that brought the night to a close. I sang backing vocals on Hard As Stone for Duncan, and recited a poem in one of The Lewinskies songs. Emma and Kate backed The Lewinskies on Birds Fly, and they joined the Folded Arms for the last two songs of the evening.
There will be videos but processing those may take a time, so please bear with us. We will be repeating Viva Musica next year. This first taster helped people to understand what we are trying to do. It’s about support for the musicians you know, but also about opening your minds to new independent music, and to getting out there and supporting live music in a way that seems to be dying. We had tremendous fun, and we thank people who came from far and wide to enter into the spirit of an amazing day.