Category Archives: news

ACM SKUNK ANANSIE SCHOLARSHIP

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford, Surrey has announced the launch of their first ever SKUNK ANANSIE SCHOLARSHIP.

The recipient of this prestigious award will receive a fully funded place on one of the academy’s reputable degree courses, worth up to £27,000.

All applicants that have successfully auditioned and enrolled for Degree programmes in Bass, Drums, Guitars, Keys or Vocals at either ACM Guildford, ACM London or the group’s newest campus, ACM Birmingham, will be eligible to apply.

The recipient of this prestigious award will receive a fully funded place on one of the academy’s reputable degree courses, worth up to £27,000…

Those applying will submit a video performance for screening by ACM’s world class teaching faculty, with a shortlist delivered to Skunk Anansie for a final decision to be made.

The award winning British rock band has been recording & touring for over 20 years, and have sold over 6 million albums and comleted many sold out world tours.

They’re the perfect role models for ACM’s students. In between studio recording and touring with the band, guitarist Ace works at ACM as Head of Creative Industry Development and drummer, Mark Richardson, is a Wellbeing Coach for the academy students.

Ace said “I’ve been honoured to be working with ACM for a very long time now, booking top industry guests, sourcing real world work opportunities, setting up networking events and advising students on a one to one basis. For three months of the year I pause my work on-campus so that I can tour with the band – bringing back the freshest knowledge directly from the industry back to the students. The music business has been very good to us over the years and it feels incredible to give back and make someone’s dream of studying music a reality.

Skunk Anansie vocalist, Skin, said “We are so excited to be able to offer such a life changing opportunity in partnership with ACM. Starting out in music can be tough financially, so being able to take away that burden for someone who is at the very beginning of their journey is incredibly rewarding. We love the fully immersive experience that ACM offers its students and are so excited to see the shortlist.”

Applications are still open for September 2017 study at ACM Guildford, ACM London and ACM Birmingham.

To book an audition or visit the Academy for an open day go to www.acm.ac.uk or call the admissions team directly on 01483 500 841.

To apply for the SKUNK ANANSIE SCHOLARSHIP or one of ACM’s other scholarship awards (including the Freddie Mercury Award and the BASCA Scholarship), visit www.acm.ac.uk/scholarships

Fun New Video by Local Firefighters — with Fire Safety Messages

A group of local Berkshire RBFRS staff and firefighters  have put their musical skills to good use by releasing a song called “You Can’t Stop the Fire” which is a clever parody of Bruce Springsteen’sDancing in the Dark”.

Staff from across the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service have made a music video…

The key aim of the song is to get fire safety advice out to people in a slightly different way.

The team — led by the inextinguishable rogue Keith Beasley [the lead singer of the Country Rock and Blues band “One For the Road” ] is brought to life with an accompanying video [watch below.]

Staff from across the organisation were involved in the project, including crews from Maidenhead, Whitley Wood and non-operational colleagues based at headquarters.

When they’re ready, here’s some ideas for their next song:

* Burning Down the House — Talking Heads

* Run the Engines Up High — Roy Orbison

* Playing With Fire — Rolling Stones

* Pound the Alarm — Nicki Minaj

* Holy Smoke — Iron Maiden

* Firestarter — The Prodigy

Please watch and share their super video below and consider making a donation to The Fire Fighters Charity —which provides life enhancing services to the fire and rescue community…

Links:

https://www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/donate/

http://www.rbfrs.co.uk/

ROMANS in STAINES at Spelthorne Museum

The Spelthorne Museum hosted a super Family Activity Day this weekend with a Roman theme.

Spelthorne Museum Family Activity Day with a Roman Theme
Spelthorne Museum Family Activity Day with a Roman Theme

On Saturday July 16 local folk were invited to attend a special free day of Roman inspired activities : including producing Roman armor, jewelry processing, production of mosaics and also the creation of slave tags.

There were also Roman games to play, including a chariot-racing inspired board game designed by local schoolchildren and some treasure trails.

There have been bridges over the Thames at Staines since Roman times.

The emperor Claudius invaded Britain in 43 AD and established a base a built bridges at “Ad Pontes” the same year.

The town became an important post during the Roman conquest and was mentioned in the 3rd century registry known as the Antonine Itinerary. This document was a kind of early ‘road map‘ of the Roman Britain.

The Roman-based Family Activity Day is one of several events run during the year by the dedicated volunteers at Spelthorne museum. The museum exhibits the history of Spelthorne from Ice Age to modern times.

Access to the museum is via Staines Library at Friends Walk, Elmsleigh Road. Staines

Link: www.spelthornemuseum.org.uk

STAINES-UPON-THAMES DAY June 2016

This year’s fab STAINES UPON THAMES DAY on Sunday 26th June began with a successful performance by the talented SPELTHORNE YOUNG VOICES — a borough-based community choir, open to those of junior and senior school age, established in 2003 to promote and inspire young singers, as they prepare to develop good musical habits, discipline and musicality.

Shortly after, the Mayor’s Parade marched down the High Street. [Theme: Kings & Queens, to commemorate the 90th birthday of the Queen] with school children and community groups, dance groups and a marching band. This parade effectively opened the event.

As in previous years, there was plenty to see and do in the Memorial Gardens, and also along the River Thames, in the market square and on the High Street. With a Main Stage, more than three performance arenas, and an abundance of interesting & fun activities.

Folk, Blues 'n' Country outfit MOONSHINE ... One of several bands performing on STAINES UPON THAMES day ...
Folk, Blues ‘n’ Country outfit MOONSHINE … One of several bands performing on STAINES UPON THAMES day …

Local surf-punkers CHASING CARA [main photo] engaged the audience from the main stage with their high-energy antics, fast riffs and driving bass lines.

Other music came from the excellent Staines Lammas Band, the talented covers outfit SOUND MINED (their Elle King cover “Ex’s & Oh’s” was a treat) and lots more.

We headed towards the STAINES RIVERSIDE CLUB too, for their free stage. Here we saw the splendid 6 piece Folk, Blues ‘n’ Country outfit MOONSHINE whose wide range of covers we particularly enjoyed.

Another stand-out attraction of the day was the Falconry display with First Class Falconry.

There were also some excellent dance performances in the Memorial Gardens, lots of interesting Arts & Crafts Stalls and Charity & Community Stalls, the exciting Dragon Boat Challenge and the wonderful duck races.

Staines Upon Thames Day - lots of interesting Arts & Crafts Stalls and Charity & Community Stalls, the exciting Dragon Boat Challenge and the wonderful duck races ...
Staines Upon Thames Day – lots of interesting Arts & Crafts Stalls and Charity & Community Stalls, the exciting Dragon Boat Challenge and the wonderful duck races …

Spelthorne Canoe Club and Surrey Canoe Club gave free Taster Sessions for those who fancied splashing about on the water, whilst French Bros organised hourly Boat Trips along the Thames.

The day stayed dry, the Thames Side Brewery served refreshing Ales & Pimms and the Pony Rides were busy all afternoon. And once we had taken in all the sights & sounds and the party-by-river atmosphere we found some tasty morsels to tempt us on the various Street Food stalls before heading for a well-earned cream tea in the Church Hall.

An exciting family fun day filled with joy and activities. It allowed us all to experience a real sense of community and belonging.

Link: http://www.stainesuponthamesday.co.uk/
Story & all photos: @neilmach 2016 ©

Dragon Boats and spalshing about on the River on Staines-upon-thames day
Dragon Boats and spalshing about on the River on Staines-upon-thames day

 

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SKINDRED Share Secrets of Survival for Students of Surrey ACM

SKINDRED SHARE SECRETS OF SURVIVAL FOR STUDENTS OF SURREY

SKINDRED’S frontman Benji Webbe and guitarist Mikey Demus dropped into Guildford’s ACM (Academy Of Contemporary Music) in Surrey to talk to the students about how best to endure and deliver in the music business. They also played a special acoustic set.

Formed in 1998, SKINDRED have gained an enviable reputation for their ultra-high-energy live shows. The Welsh rockers have toured relentlessly, and played to crowds of up to 500K.

Their natural ability, winning ethos and dedication to hard work has earned the band a well-deserved following and durable longevity in an ever-changing industry.

“Once you write a song, you’re stuck with it for life...” SKINDRED addressed popular music students at ACM Surrey ...
“Once you write a song, you’re stuck with it for life…” SKINDRED addressed popular music students at ACM Surrey …

Aspiring students at ACM Guildford jumped at the chance to ask Benji and Mikey what their secrets were, and how they have managed to maintain and continue to build a career within an industry that is full of change.

When asked by a student what advice they would give to bands just starting to write their own songs, frontman Benji responded “Just be true to yourself.

Enjoyment is key” he added, especially when it comes to touring. Benji explained how, for him, the years have flown by and how “passion [has] kept the fire alight.” What’s more, he reminded the students: “Once you write a song, you’re stuck with it for life…

Touring can lead to some very strange experiences: Mikey, for example, told the group of students how it feels to be hit on stage by a dead fish!

What drove you to music?” Asked one student. For Mikey, it was “watching Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page” that moved him to pick up the guitar. The likes of these greats gave him the fire to play. Mikey was also keen to point out that it is important to “Pick your own lane!

An important question was raised during the discussion “Do you think you’d still be where you are if you started out today?” Benji admitted times were different now, “We’re up against an industry that wants you to fit in a certain pocket. We don’t fit in a pocket: We do what we do.” When asked which song they’d wish they’d written – Benji responded “My Way” a song whose lyrics Benji described as “Lasting forever, meaning so much to so many...”

Not only did Benji and Mikey share their insights and secrets of success with ACM’s students, they also played an exclusive acoustic concert, with songs from their extensive back catalog such as “Nobody” and “Saying it Now.”

Links: https://www.facebook.com/skindredofficial
Link: https://www.facebook.com/acmuk
Main Image: @neilmach taken at nearby Redfest, in Reigate Surrey

Freddie Mercury Scholarship Announced for ACM Guildford

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is a music academy located in Guildford, Surrey in England.

The Academy was the brainchild of Phil Brookes, a guitar tutor from nearby Woking, Surrey who established the institution in 1995 with the aim of bringing music education and the music industry closer together.

The ACM, with Metropolis Studios, have this week announced the inauguration of a Freddie Mercury Scholarship, endorsed by Queen's Roger Taylor and Brian May
The ACM, with Metropolis Studios, have this week announced the inauguration of a Freddie Mercury Scholarship, endorsed by Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May

The school differs from more traditional music academies because it focusses on rock, pop music, electronic dance music and delivers a vocational approach. Former students include Newton Faulkner and Ed Sheeran, among many others.

The Academy, with Metropolis Studios, have this week announced the inauguration of a Freddie Mercury Scholarship, endorsed by Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May.

The award comes in the year which will see the celebration of the singer’s 70th birthday, on September 5. The prestigious scholarship will fully fund a student’s entire study path and is worth up to £27,000.

The degree programme includes songwriting, performance, production and business modules and is delivered in accordance with ACM’s “learning by doing” ethos.

Queen band member Roger Taylor, who is also a patron of ACM and has a drum studio named after him at the academy’s Guildford campus, said, “Freddie’s name endures in so many ways so it’s therefore great to have this scholarship celebrating his musical genius!

Guitarist Brian May said: “This scholarship will be a lasting tribute to Freddie and the path he blazed. He would be happy to see young talent being helped to blossom. Of course Metropolis holds a very special place in Queen history, and it’s a pleasure to continue that link.”

The Metropolis Studios CEO, Ian Brenchley, is looking forward to welcoming the successful scholar to the studio in London, the world’s largest independent recording facility, where over 50% of the UK’s Top 40 is serviced, “We are hugely excited to be entering into this partnership and to be able to offer the scholarship to one lucky student. Freddie’s spirit is alive and well at Metropolis, where he wrote and recorded so much of his material and his legacy lives on every time his Fazioli grand piano is played in our flagship studio.”

http://www.acm.ac.uk/
http://www.thisismetropolis.com/

Evolution of a Phoenix

There is a certain regal oak named ‘Kindred Spirit’ … but for us
Kindred Spirit” means only one thing … the locally based five-piece, electric folk rock band that features the radiant and deeply moving voice of Elaine Samuels.

The band line up also includes Gavin Jones (electric violin) Catherine Dimmock (flute and sax) Mike Hislop (bass) and Les Binks (former drummer for Judas Priest.)

The band are about to release their stunning new album Phoenix Rising – and we have been watching the project unfold and develop.

Elaine Samuels - Voice is radiant and deeply moving...
Elaine Samuels – Voice is radiant and deeply moving…

We’ve been having a sneaky listen to some of their (yet unreleased) tracks currently being recorded @SkylineStudios by @JezLarder:

Opening song “Kindred Spirits” certainly contains the ethereal quality you might find in early Moody Blues.

It has that dramatic “Threshold of a Dream…” feel about it.

This has a soulful flute and intricate acoustic guitars that embroider the surface.

The finest crystal bell clear voice ripples seamlessly through the
vision … creating a sort of divine salvation.

Album Launch show - St Augustine's Church Whitton 18 April 2015
Album Launch show – St Augustine’s Church Whitton 18 April 2015

We also heard the jaunty number “The Phoenix” with its trotting pace and pizzicato strings.

The violin animates the piece (although it maintains a shaded heart.)

This song seems to be about facing all that is left … (in other words, the “Ashes” ) trying to make sense of them … before you can even hope to fly again.

Finality and sadness has to be visited upon us before we can hope of being re-born.

This song reminded us of Renaissance (the rock band) around their ‘Novella’ period.

It immediately draws the listener into enormous depths – the pay-off is complex, exciting and invaluable.

Book a ticket to the Album Launch Concert April 18th Here>> http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kindred-spirit-album-launch-tickets-15087938430

@neilmach 2015 ©

Link:

https://www.facebook.com/KindredSpiritBand