As part of one of our celebration evenings in September 2017, Al Quigley came to play! Here’s the film of his stunning performance. Enjoy!
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We were pleased to accommodate CBeebies Radio at the studio on Saturday 29th October to record Children for their Christmas Nativity. The script was sent to Sam Marsden who runs the http://margaretwilcoxschool.uk/ and she selected some students aged 6-8 to undertake the various roles.
‘It was an excellent opportunity for practising speaking and listening skills and vocal expression, as well as a fun and interesting experience for all those who took part.’ Sam said.
The studio proved a perfect venue for the recording as the reception area doubled as a Green Room and the CBeebies personnel were pleased with our versatile mobile sound booth.
The show will be available online nearer to Christmas and a link will be posted on the news page of the above Speech and Drama School website. Thank you to all the children who took part and Johnny and Harriet from CBeebies Radio.
We are pleased to be hosting a Run & Hide Records, ticket only, event on Saturday 12th November at 7pm. Scheduled to play are @sobimusic with support from @LiamMcClair and @KwalaParla. Run and Hide Records are based in Manchester and put live showcases on in the city. However, thanks to Liam, Sobi is including an intimate Sandbach date on the UK leg of her tour to promote her new EP ‘Biting Back’.
Sobi is a 23 year old, Alternative Pop singer/songwriter from London. She has been performing around Manchester and London for the last 3 years and is currently based in Hannover, Germany. She has recently been on tour across Germany supporting Jamie Lawson.
‘Her songs with just her on an electric guitar work wonderfully well, they are set into stark focus, such as Just Like You where she lifts the song in the chorus by the power of her voice alone.’ – Even the Stars. You can listen to tracks from ‘Biting Back’ here https://sobi.bandcamp.com/
Liam McClair is a Pop singer/songwriter based in Manchester who is returning to play @ after enjoying his previous experience as part of a Shop Sessions line up. We are delighted he is back to play for us again as his performance was very well received and he is extremely busy playing numerous gigs.
“Emotive songs, sublime voice and a captivating performer, a stand out artist for us at BBC Introducing” Natalie & Michelle, BBC Introducing.
Following the success of his first EP ‘Honest’, his single ‘Hunted’ is available now along with new material just published. His new song ‘Wherever We Like’ can be heard here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yQzUEVACWU
KwalaParla is a project of Singer/Songwriter Mike Willacy and comprises acoustic blues/indie sounds. Mike is local to Sandbach and released his album ‘Break The Man’ last year via Bandcamp, which is described as acoustic americana southern roots folk rock. You can hear it here https://kwalaparla.bandcamp.com/releases
Mike is active on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/KwalaParla and you can catch up with all the latest KwalaParla activity there.
Tickets for this special event can be purchased from http://www.seetickets.com/event/sobi-at-ucan-studios/ucan-studios/1009628
Please bring your own alcoholic drinks. There is no bar. Look forward to seeing you there.
We are really pleased with the response to our first ‘Open Evening’ and will definitely be doing another as everyone enjoyed it. The feedback we’ve had indicates the format was a success, with the variety of performances being positively commented on. Well done everyone! Thank you to Pete the Poet for doing a brilliant job of hosting the evening, keeping the audience well informed, and entertaining us with his unique delivery that included illustrations to accompany his poems.
After Pete the Poet welcomed everyone and set the scene for the evening, Alex York entertained us with an uplifting acapella song, followed by his radical take on the Beatles song ‘Yesterday’, and then his own composition ‘A Lament For A Lost Love’. Alex shared the context to this piece prior to its delivery with Jason accompanying on guitar. Alex was rightly pleased with his debut.
Next up was Josh, one of Jonathan’s young piano students taking the opportunity to share the skills he’s learning. He played his piece excellently. Here is a short recording of his recital, from the UCan Studios Soundcloud page.
Hannah Golightly and her Imaginary Band were next up. Hannah has a new drummer, Poots, and this was their first show together. They travelled over from Chester to join us and presented three original songs, ‘The Bathroom’, ‘See You In The Shadows’ and ‘The Edge of Love’ all of which can be seen on Hannah’s YouTube Channel. It’s the first time Hannah has experienced UCan Studios space, and we are really pleased that she is keen to promote some live music events at our venue next year.
Daniel from VocalArtUK gave us two fantastic extended voice compositions. Apart from some digital drum sounds Daniel used his voice to build his timbres and melodies on a Roland RC-505 loop station. He also used this device to break the tracks down to end his pieces. The first piece titled ‘Ope Boye’ was inspired by Eastern Music and his attendance at a workshop by Anna Helena McLean from Gardzienice Theatre Company. The second piece ‘Yungala – Song of Travel’ was inspired by the work of Lisa Gerrard, in particular her score with Hans Zimmer for the film Gladiator. We will be recording these pieces in the studio soon.
Morning Star, currently a singer and guitarist combo, treated us to some cover versions of songs they have been rehearsing in the studio during their Sunday late afternoon bookings. It was the first time they had shared this work with an audience and we were privileged to hear it at this stage of development. Alison received complements for her delicate yet emotionally loaded vocal style.
Vistie Marsden, who has been using YouTube videos to learn to play a Ukulele donated by UCan Play, gave us her rendition of the pop ballad ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ originally recorded by Elvis Presley. This was followed by her friend Lucy’s acapella version of the theme from the 2012 James Bond film ‘Skyfall’, originally sung and co-written by Adele. Both Year 11 students impressed, particularly as they had been called upon on the night as they weren’t billed.
To close the evening Carl, who uses the moniker C6T8, performed three songs on his guitar, singing two numbers as a tribute to a friend who recently died who performed the songs himself, and another song dear to Carl. After working hard at the studio over the past months to develop his performing techniques Carl was able to relax into his songs, and take the pressure of being last on. He delivered confident, technically competent songs that were very well received. I personally have to thank Carl for then swapping to his 12 string acoustic guitar to play a version of ‘Song to the Siren’ by Tim Buckley, lyrics by Larry Beckett, which is very dear to me. We played it a couple of times during Carl’s sessions in the studio and I really enjoyed being able to sing it at this event.
Pete finished with a last poem and asked Josh to play his piano piece once again for everyone as a fitting conclusion, before declaring ‘What a top night!’
Here’s one message from the audience that sums it up ‘I really enjoyed tonight, thought all the turns were superb, plenty of variety and skill. Well done you all!’
On Friday 7th October we are having an ‘Open Evening’ at the studio. This is about creating an opportunity for artists, who are developing through using our facilities and/or working with the support of our teaching and producing personnel, to progress through performance. Performing provides a focus and nurtures deeper understanding of sharing ideas and emotions through music and the voice. We aim to create a relaxed atmosphere with families and friends present to form a discerning audience that can provide positive feedback to the contributors and celebrate artistic endeavour.
Pete the Poet is compere for the evening.
Pete has been working with UCan Play since 2009. What started out as a briefcase full of Pete’s poems and sketches developed through recording sessions, video making, the creation of a poetry night at the George and Dragon pub in Great Budworth and work with a local Primary School into an archive of his work online at http://www.petethepoet.co.uk/ which links to his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ptpwch and Soundcloud page https://soundcloud.com/pete-the-poet.
Also performing will be…
Carl is a guitar player and singer. He has a history of playing in bands but has recently been working on solo performance starting with songs that were dear to him, that he enjoyed singing and could relate to lyrically. He has arranged them according to his preference and with production advice worked towards recording them at the studio. We experimented with recording his guitar during his performance directly into the desk but found that it lost the qualities that the demo recordings on a Roland R-09 portable recorder had captured. We then re-recorded it with two Rode NT5 microphones in stereo and found that we achieved a much truer representation of the guitar, closer to the sound we could hear when Carl was playing and singing live in the room. The recordings can be heard on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/c6t8
‘Hannah Golightly’s Imaginary Band’
UCan Play has supported Hannah with purchasing some equipment recently and playing at our ‘Open Evening’ will be her first experience of our studio space. We are looking forward to her first visit as we are hoping to host one of Hannah’s fabulous ‘GRRRLS WITH GUITARS PARTY’ at the studio next year. ‘Hannah Golightly can be found on her hip and happening chaotic and fun YouTube channel where you can find her acoustic demos, music videos and interviews with herself and other female punk rock musicians.’ https://www.youtube.com/user/hannah0golightly and her music can be heard here https://www.reverbnation.com/hannahgolightly
Mally started working with UCan Play over 4 years ago after moving back to the area. He got involved in some projects with Jason and Sam, playing guitar and singing on cover versions of songs across a range of genres. The songs covered were identified, worked out, arranged and recorded using an iphone, in generally less than 4 hours. This process was designed to develop artistic sensibilities and artistic decision making.
Alex approached UCan Play in July with a desire to sing more. We created a personalised program for Alex to extend his natural voice and build on his passion for music and love of song. We are currently exploring the links between his experiences of writing poetry and how lyrics for song are structured. Alex has created a piece from a poem of his that we are delighted he is sharing at the ‘Open Evening’.
‘Most of my generation regret the missed opportunities to learn to play a musical instrument. Not entirely our fault, as the choice in our youth was normally limited to the piano. This, even in its upright form, was costly, bulky, heavy and definitely not transportable. Modern equipment has overcome these problems and provided for their availability to a much wider audience; in a variety of forms at an affordable cost. Over the years, I have had tried the electronic keyboard and toyed with the violin and cello – I left the drums to my eldest son – only to belatedly realise that the human voice is as good a musical instrument as you could ever want. It is readily available, easy to maintain and costs little in operation. It can also be pleasant on the ear. So, with Jason’s guidance, I may have found my voice.’
Some of his poetry can be enjoyed online here https://www.Alexyorkpoetry.blogspot.co.uk.
UCan Play is keen to support young people with an interest in music making and after a conversation at our Summer Party earlier this year a session was arranged to use the studio to explore ideas through improvisation with Jonathan Sullivan and Rik Dattani. Together with Jason they formed Clitocybe to focus on creating an original piece for performance using live samples from vinyl records, electronic sound manipulation, sound capture and vocals.
Daniel Wilkinson-Shaw – Vocal Art
VocalArt.org.uk is a new company set up by Daniel with the support of UCanPlay.org.uk. to run voice workshops. We held our first VocalArt workshop for young people at the studios recently. Daniel is going to share some of his ideas and skills at our Open Evening.
We are holding the UCan Play Christmas Party at the studio on Saturday 19th December, starting at 7.30pm. Food is provided, but please bring a bottle of something to add to the festivities! We are planning some live music and a DJ for your entertainment, along with the opportunity to play with a whole host of musical toys! Please contact Jonathan if you’d like to come along. Numbers are limited so book early!
Our Christmas Party for kids is on Tuesday 22nd December at 5pm. All our young students, together with one of their friends, are invited to this party and invitations will be distributed this week during your lessons. We look forward to seeing you there kids!
We were delighted to welcome The Jellyman’s Daughter and Ashley Fayth in the studio on Thursday 29th October as part of the Shop Sessions gigs run by Mike at The Cycle Junction. It was a brilliant evening of acoustic music from these talented artists. We loved every minute of it and so did everyone in the audience too!
When we set up our studio over the summer, hosting live gigs was not on the menu of activities. However, as with any project, new ideas and collaborations emerge through friendships and shared passions. Meeting Mike at the Cycle Junction was one such friendship. Mike’s passion for live music, supporting artists and their development and general positive energy about music is infectious. So, when he approached us a month or so ago with a request to use our studio for his shop sessions, we were delighted to oblige.
In an age of pre-recorded, heavily produced music, there is a brilliance and charm to hearing live music up close. The vast majority of the material performed by last night’s artists were original songs inspired by people, places and even arguments over burning the garlic bread! The studio proved to be an intimate venue for such material, with the acoustics working well to provide a clean background against which the subtleties of voices, instruments and their blend could be heard and appreciated to good effect.
In the meantime, here are a few images from the gig last night.
Our first party at UCan Studios was for the students finishing their PGCE courses in Music from Manchester Metropolitan University and other friends. It was great to get people’s reactions to the venue. We also had some live music thanks to Rick coming along, our first DJ in theUCan Studios! Thanks Rick:
We are delighted to announce that the Margaret Wilcox School of Speech and Drama is coming to UCan Studios in Wheelock! The school, which has operated for many years in Plumley near Knutsford, will be delivering its unique blend of classes aimed at developing adults and children’s speech, communication and acting skills. Classes will take place on a Thursday evening. Early booking is recommended by contacting Sam Marsden on 07887 778 822 or email here.
Over the past week we have been busy setting up the new UCan Studios. We have source furniture, made portable room dividers out of pallets, installed our equipment and created our waiting area.
Next on the list is to purchase some additional recording equipment and musical instruments. We’ll also be getting high speed fibre broadband installed over the next month for our customers to enjoy.
Also, watch out for our advertisements in the local press over the next month or so!
Loads to do, but great community support and we are well on track for our September opening!