The Busy-ness Explained!

Been a bit busy over the first half of the year with non-music stuff – this photo after my first music performance of the year explains why!

Rishi after serenading the lovely Nev xx

Since then though I have done my first full gig, and Genomics! The Musical! has gone live. More to come in 2022!

Fundraiser for ex-Karmadillo Kate

One of the most fantastic musicians it has been my pleasure to work with as Karmadillo has been Kate Aria, who is currently holder of the ‘furthest distance between myself and Rishi after having been in a band with him’ award by heading off to Australia a decade ago.

She has been identified as having the BRCA1 gene, an indicator of a high likelihood of breast cancer. She is having some quite drastic surgeries over 2022 to help her avoid the worst outcome for her two children.

If you’ve enjoyed Kate’s wonderfully spirited company, her talented music skill, her devotion to the music therapy cause, or her bonkers stage presence, please consider donating towards the fund to help her get through this tough period. More details here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-kate-survive-the-brca1-gene

Karmadillo at Couper Collection 2007
Karmadillo at Couper Collection 2007
Kate Aria on the oboe!

The Bare Minim!

About 15 years ago I used to to host on the Cambridge community radio station, 209radio. I’m not really someone with a classical background so it was a way of educating myself on the genre. The show was called the “The Bare Minim” to reflect the level knowledge I had. I used to pick pieces by what was being performed in Cambridge, film scores, and things on a collection of about 10 CDs from the genre that I owned, and things like the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack. The station wound up in 2010 but I had a rich and rewarding time doing this, and met many talented broadcasters and technicians who volunteered their efforts.

I have put together a tracklist of pieces I remember playing on the show on Spotify. Hope you enjoy!

Professor Karmadillo is now Singing Science!

A while ago I started a side project to turn some ideas I had for songs from the world of science into musical form. This saw the light of day as Professor Karmadillo, and resulted in the album Giant Leaps. I have now decided to turn this into a more full time project, which sees the light of day as Singing Science, together with its first fully fledged show Genomics! The Musical!

This takes on board some of the feedback from audiences (videos for all songs when performing live, a theme to the show rather than just disparate science songs) and performance spaces (sadly one of these being that to perform in academic institutions it is easier to do with backing tracks rather than bring real instruments into play).

You can find out more at the Singing Science website. Also available on Twitter etc with #singingscience!

Strawberry Fair – Love Music Hate Racism 2017

Once again, congratulations to Rosey REPEAT for another superbly organised Love Music/Hate Racism stage at this years Strawberry Fair! Kudos to you for all the work you do for the cause in Cambridge. It is always an honour to play to support the work.

Karmadillo

It was also great to see so a stage given to so many young performers, and watching Saltfen (who I had supported the week before) in action left me awestruck once again. These guys are really amazing. As featured on the You Flexi Thing Volume 2 by Repeat Records. And a shoutout the to Baby Seals for a great headline set.

Oxjam Takeover 2016

The Oxjam Cambridge 2016 gig happened on Saturday. A mass takeover of 10 Cambridge venues, to raise money for Oxfam.

I played two sets – one at 2468 and other other at The Snug Bar in Cambridge. The former I’d last been into when it was the vaults, the latter I’d not been into since trying to catch up with Paul Richards after a CB2 gig. Though pre-gig I was trying to reminisce with Aidy about the dimensions of when the venue was the old Boat Race. I must have been playing on where the old stage was – it was by the entrance to the toilets! – but I couldn’t quite place the location of the door and the sound desk. And then when I put the bar in place it mentally seemed smaller than it used to be, though maybe it was larger in my memory than in reality.

I did get soaked going between the two venues – a rain storm just fell between the two sets. When I checked the weather in the morning I had been promised dryness. I left the Portland (where I went after performing) early because of this and had a migraine the next day. But nothing compared to what the people for whom these funds were intended go through. Still, got to see The Abstracts perform a really cool set, and bumped into the checkout lady at Waitrose who’d recognised me as Karmadillo the day before when shopping. Fame!

Lots of acts contributed, but special mention must go to the organising crew – especially Sandy Mills – and the sound people for the efforts they put in to making this happen.

Oxjam Cambridge Takeover gig 2016
Oxjam Cambridge Takeover gig 2016

Cheers to Aidy of The British IBM for the photo!

This Old House

The song I was most nervous about showing my fellow band members was Rent Boy, a song about house prices in the UK. It has a lot of changing sections, and the outro was a parody of a song I first heard performed in the early 80s by a chap called Shakin’ Stevens. He was served up as a 60s rocker (I believe the phrase was Teddy Boy) and the song – This Ole House – it turns out was a cover version.

The song being a cover version is something I’d been aware of for a while. What I hadn’t been aware of, until reading this interview on the BBC website, was that this song was actually a clever metaphor for death, and inspired by the songwriter (“singing cowboy” Stuart Hamblen) finding a dead body lying in a deserted shack! The lyrics play with the gospel concept of the mortal body being a “house” for your soul, that gets left behind when you go to “meet the saints”. Not something I’d ever appreciated before.

Ironically I am writing this at 5.30am as the house I am currently renting is next to the A14 and I find myself being awoken by passing heavy goods traffic going along at 60mph every day. Come on guys – if only 300,000 of you purchase Karmadillo albums I’ll be able to buy a decent place of my own!