London Viola Player, Violinist & Arranger For Hire

A think piece

( … doubtless highly subjective and trying to be open to civil / reasoned correction.

This shouldn’t be about laying blame; I’m not even that interested in the reasons for the things I describe right now, just trying to perceive truth that has perhaps been missed.)

I think there are two trends to how performance, especially though not only music, has been seen and/or presented that may be very dangerous to maintaining high-level professional performances.

Firstly, from buying to tipping. In the UK at present, public indoor performances are illegal (even if a few organisations are circumventing the rules, as always happens). Performances can be broadcast or recorded for an audience not physically present, or take place outdoors. The problem is that, for different reasons, both of those contexts are hard to put behind a paywall, certainly compared to where the performance is conveniently surrounded by physical walls. Outdoor performances can be ticketed, of course, but the infrastructure to do so requires upfront investment beyond the budget of most arts organisations; so most outdoor performances currently are free to access with a hope of collecting tips/donations – they are essentially pretty much busking, unless underwritten by (usually fairly invisible) sponsorship of some kind. Arts online have been extremely difficult to sell, as opposed to ask for donations or possibly have subscription-model access, for years – and perhaps paradoxically, ‘live’ video, whether in real time or not, is more difficult to monetise even than downloadable recordings.

The problem with this shift is that it makes audiences in general used to not having to pay for the arts. (Even more used, I should say; it is only accelerating pre-pandemic trends.) Even if they do pay, it feels more like a charitable donation or even a personal favour. Therefore, the arts are de-essentialised and potentially downgraded to somewhere between a hobby and begging leverage.

The other misrepresentation is that the arts ‘just happen’. The slightly tongue in cheek but overwhelmingly common media presence of musicians, dancers and actors playing from their balconies, filming ensemble pieces from their bedrooms and generally continuing to do art while artistic institutions are closed and empty gives the impression that performers perform as it were innately, through some (fictional) combination of unschooled talent and personal categorical imperative.

This is not only untrue but highly dangerous. If musicians will still perform and record Mozart and Wagner without concert halls, audiences or even being able to meet to rehearse (runs the subconscious line of thought), then why should the price paid for the music reflect the time they spend rehearsing, practising, being taught, studying? If they will carry on producing art while locked down, and if they need to act / dance / sing so much they practically can’t stop themselves, couldn’t they just all get day jobs to pay the bills and play the bassoon on the side?

Let me be clear for anyone who doesn’t know this already. Professional-standard music does not just happen. It requires years of training and thousands of hours of study to achieve. But it also requires hours every week of intense concentration and hard work offstage to maintain – even besides rehearsal to learn new material and polish coherent performances. Unless you possess exceptional levels of energy, resilience and self-discipline (and remarkably few responsibilities), it is just not possible to do a job that will cover living costs (especially in 21st century London) and continue to play at the level that has been expected of a professional ‘art’ musician for the last couple of generations or more.

That is why, at some stage in the process, someone has to ‘buy’ performed art. That is why, for there to be the sort of music, drama, dance etc. we are used to, performers have to be able to earn a living wage from performing alone.

New things, new-ish ones, changes, and changes back

I thought I’d try a bit of a format shift in last Thursday’s stream. So I dropped the singing and reshuffled the instrument segments: mandolin (instrumentals) segment into the middle, viola to the start and fiddle to the end.

I also played one absolutely brand new piece of music and one technically new transcription. The transcription was J Scott Skinner’s violin solo ‘Le Messe’ [sic; unless there’s something I don’t know about, his French grammar was a bit ropey, ‘messe’ as in Catholic Mass is feminine not masculine]; I’ve played several of its siblings in their violin originals in recent streams but I was sure I could make a better job of this on viola, and to make life easier on my brain wrote it out a fifth lower, in alto clef and with a couple of decisions about technical intention ‘clarified’ in the new copy.

The new piece was what I’m naming as my third ‘prelude’ for solo viola; though whereas the first two had (I think) quite clearly identifiable roots in the quasi-improvisatory prelude movements of baroque solo instrument suites, this is essentially a (fairly unambitious) viola version of the solo piano nocturne.

Response to both was certainly positive, though probably more oriented to my playing than the writing; I certainly don’t expect to garner very many more compliments on my left-hand pizzicato in my playing career, though it is slightly easier to make it a slightly more effective device on viola than violin (in my opinion; I don’t think it’s just that my viola technique in general is better).

However, the vox populi is that I should take the mandolin back to accompanying songs. So, while you can expect one instrumental number on that (barring any late-arriving requests), I will be doing a couple of (hopefully!) entertaining vocal numbers. What the audience wants, the audience (if I can deliver it) gets …

One thing I won’t sadly be able to deliver is livestreams on the two Thursdays following 6 August. Shockingly, I actually have gigs with other musicians to live audiences on those dates – and they aren’t in breach of the Covid-19 safety guidelines. Watch this space for more information on that.

Busking, on and off (line)

Last Sunday’s livestream was rendered distinctive by my having had not one, not two, but three requests during and shortly after the previous show, making this by some way the programme I controlled the least. One of them (I won’t reveal which) is something I probably wouldn’t have chosen myself, so a certain amount of being ‘stretched’ by my audience which is good!

The set list went:
House of the Rising Sun
Fire on the Mountain
The Reel o’ Tulloch (variations by J Scott Skinner)
Strip the Willow (requested by my mum) (she had the ceilidh dance in mind, but I found two tunes in the right rhythm called Strip the Willow and The Willow Tree)
Bach: Allemande from the suite in C major, originally for cello
Telemann: Fantasia no. 5, originally for violin
Hoffmeister: Etude for solo viola no. 11
Scarborough Fair (requested by Bob Prigmore)
Dark Streets of London (requested by Karen Jones)

I never know quite what challenges these solo performances are going to throw up, besides requests that may or may not be tricky to accommodate. (Some, indeed, are likely to be downright impossible: someone who I think hadn’t heard me before came in on Twitch part way through the Skinner, which contains lots of fast notes, double stops, ricochet bowing and so on, and asked for Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole or the Sibelius violin concerto, having apparently been fooled into believing I’m a virtuoso violinist! I should be flattered, but I’m certainly not going to support the deception … ) The Hoffmeister I played this time would be an almost entirely straightforward piece (unlike any of the Bach and Telemann I’ve been exploring on viola), were it not in F sharp major (6 sharps, and none of the open strings of the instrument are in the tonic scale) – I suspect this may have been a deliberate choice to up the ‘technical étude’ credentials of the collection, not least because the preceding number in the collection is in a little less threatening B flat minor (5 flats). Conversely, I ended up with a purely self-inflicted problem in Dark Streets of London, dropping my mandolin plectrum near the beginning of the closing instrumental section. I was well aware playing mandolin with the thumb / fingertips is not a conventional technique and decided by the time I’d finished the phrase that I wasn’t going to be able to deliver a convincing ending to the set in that matter – the strings are too tight and the instrument not resonant enough, you just can’t get a decent melodic sound that way. Which meant I had to leave my percussionist, er, left foot, keeping time for a few bars while I bent down and found the pick on the floor. Things no lessons would have taught me even if I had had any on mandolin …

Meanwhile, wondering how the return on investment would compare to the online busking sessions, I went properly busking for the first time certainly since lockdown and probably rather longer than that (chronic fatigue ruled it out for most of the winter) on Sunday. Unsurprisingly, there’s no sign of the London train station scheme restarting. Greenwich is the nearest area to home I’ve actually seen anyone busking, so I headed there to experiment, cycling with this lot:

Yes it’s a very uncool bike, but how much can you carry on the back of a sexier one?

Unfortunately, Greenwich is still about three and a half miles away, with a certain amount of uphill and down in both directions you can’t plausibly go round. The combined bike out – play for 2 hours – bike back sequence seemed a good idea when I left the house, a perfectly valid one when I left Greenwich, and a terrible one when I reached home. I’m going to hope the blame lies more with my fitness having melted away over chronic fatigue pacing and lockdown inactivity than with the ongoing state of CFS as such, but it was certainly deeply unpleasant.

Having been given grim reports by former locals about there being only a handful of viable busking pitches (there are no legal restrictions, other than the usual one that landowner’s permission is needed if you aren’t on public land) and those having the same people on them every week, I was very happy to be able to set up at the main entrance to Greenwich market early in the afternoon – the food stalls were evidently back in full swing and a pub with a back entrance into the market had an outside bar going too, so footfall was pretty good, and I was actually under an arched / columned entranceway so if the forecast rain had eventuated before I left I at least would have been dry and relatively unconcerned about my violin (and indeed amp). More to my surprise, no stallholders or market staff asked me to move on – it can’t possibly be public land, but the market policy must be to allow buskers that aren’t in the way, don’t clash with another busker (there were none thankfully) and aren’t offensive. Which is a nice liberal change from most private landowners, eg shopping centres, which will send security guards out to chase you as far away as possible.

I had some appreciative actual listeners (mostly people sitting down to eat food-stall lunches) and made some money, but the cash problem is unsurprisingly more acute even than it was in London last year – few people carry it, most shops are trying to avoid taking it, and the alternatives for buskers are never quite as convenient for punters. I must create a revised sign with a QR code for my PayPal link.

All of which leads me to a tension, hopefully to be eased by gradual improvement of the fatigue situation – I would like to give busking in Greenwich another shot, not least as I was a little rusty on my busking set, but it certainly didn’t make me enough money to really justify ditching the livestreams and focusing on in-person busking instead. So on Thursday I will be back online, and please do listen in and tip generously. But next weekend I hope to get back to Greenwich and do some more playing to people I can see and hear, so if that’s your neck of the woods and you might want to listen for a bit let me know and I’ll drop you a message when I’m heading over there!

Singing, requests and classical freedom

Last Thursday’s stream certainly had the most viewer engagement of any one to date (I only bear a slight grudge that that didn’t translate into financial tips … honest … ). Among other things, it bore fruit in the first concrete requests of the ‘series’: probably both sparked by my mandolin and vocals rendition of ‘Dirty Old Town’, I can confirm the next stream will include versions of the traditional ‘Scarborough Fair’ and the Pogues original ‘Dark Streets of London’ (with potentially offensive lyrics; consider yourself warned). I don’t think responding to my ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ by pointing me to Johnny Cash’s self-effacing comic masterpiece ‘Chicken in Black’ was intended to constitute a request as such … though I might try it some time anyway, if I stick to the streams for long enough …

Besides those two songs at the end then, here’s what I played on the 16th:
The Swallow’s Tail / The Irish Washerwoman (two traditional Irish jigs, for which, worryingly, an arm of Sony via YouTube’s automated system tried to make a copyright claim on the grounds of a recorded medley also including ‘The Road to Lisdoonvarna’, which I played in a previous stream; they haven’t responded to my disputing the claim on the grounds traditional compositions cannot be copyrighted as such, so hopefully I’ve fought that one off)
Another Jig will Do / The Rocky Road to Dublin (two slip jigs, as opposed to the ordinary 6/8 variety)
The Bonnie Lass o’ Bon Accord (a J Scott Skinner violin solo, Scottish folk-inflected in melody but definitely a light classical virtuoso performance piece)
The Bluehill Boys / The Harvest Home (two hornpipes that I know as Irish but seem to be known in Scotland and America too)
A tour of 18th-century art music written for different instruments on viola:
The Gigue from Bach’s C major suite for cello
Telemann’s third Fantasia for violin
Hoffmeister’s 9th étude, actually written for viola
Antidotum Tarantulae, a sequence of mandolin melodies used as part of a process to cure spider bites in 17th century southern Italy (it probably didn’t work).
Then the songs as above.

The Bach, like the vast majority of dance rhythm-based late baroque movements for any instrumentation, is in binary form: two parts, the first modulating away from the tonic key, the (longer) second returning to the home key and to some, or an altered form, of the opening material, both marked to be repeated. This creates a certain amount of difficulty for performers now that the Bach solo cello suites and solo violin partitas are considered among the pinnacles of chamber concert repertoire. Does one play the vast majority of the music twice identically? Does one ignore the repeat marks? Both are certainly done, the latter a lot more commonly. What is done surprisingly infrequently is to play the repeats but vary them. ‘Surprisingly’ because we know players of the period were given to substantially ornamenting, varying and simply changing the written music. Indeed, it’s been suggested that some passages apparently consisting of held notes or broken chords were never intended to be played as written but are merely frameworks for improvisation, and that what appear to be incredibly short slow movements (a handful of chords) in various pieces should really frame cadenzas ad lib. Admittedly, some suggest that Bach conversely wished performers wouldn’t alter his music! However, I think it’s also true that the solo string works have tended to remain largely divorced from the historically informed performance movement, largely played in not very 18th-century ways by players who do not specialise in ‘early’ music and often may not play much else of it. Also, Bach must be one of the two or three composers most still ‘reified’ in contemporary classical culture: you can ‘recompose’ the ‘Four Seasons’ and take liberties with Mozart, but you don’t mess with Bach!

Perhaps in line with this, my decision to play and ornament the repeats in the Bach movement provoked (neutral, possibly carefully so) comment from a listener – all right, it was my dad; does that entirely matter? Admittedly I had talked about ornamenting repeats by the time I took rather more radical steps with the Hoffmeister piece, also in binary form as a great many Classical movements are (sonata form in its earlier incarnations is effectively a subset of binary, with the earlier material of the second section ‘developed’ from the first; the falling away of the second and eventually the first repeat and the increasing role of the coda are developments into the Romantic period, notably pushed forward by Beethoven); but it attracted no such attention, even though late-Classical performers were probably less given to departure from the written part than their equivalents three generations earlier. Perhaps because even ornamentation of an immediate direct repeat is less obvious if you don’t know the piece beforehand, and I don’t think anyone listening knew the Hoffmeister études significantly (a shame); perhaps because no one is that worked up about the insertion of ‘extra twiddles’ into the work of a late-18th-century kleinmeister (yes, the German for ‘little master’ really is a term used in writing about Classical music!) – which of itself might be to me more of an appealing piece of freedom than a regrettable indifference, but that probably again marks me in the maverick / outsider category.

I can confirm requests for next week of Scarborough Fair and Dark Streets of London, as above, and for ‘Strip the Willow’. To see how I handle those and what else I get up to, maverick or mainstream, tune in at 8 with your PayPal balances at the ready! I might not do many more streams if the takings don’t improve, they’re a lot of work …

East, West, North and New

Last week’s livestream partly represented a low-level frustration at performing programmes made up of Irish folk and what bits I can access / know / appreciate of the unaccompanied art-music viola repertoire. So it was the week I apologised for performing material from folk traditions I don’t know thoroughly enough to render it authentically, and branched out.

Northwards, to Scotland. The differences between Scottish and Irish (or indeed English) folk music are sometimes underrated, and indeed have become somewhat blurred by some aspects of the folk revival from the late 60s on. However, I took the stylistically easy and technically challenging way out by picking a J Scott Skinner violin solo, ‘The President’, that is really a light classical composition in classic variation form, fully notated and indicated for performance techniques, with only its melodic influences coming from the folk fiddle aspect of Scott Skinner’s artistic life (he was also a prizewinning dancer, dancing master and calisthenics teacher).

Eastwards, to mainland Europe. To a traditional south Italian mandolin tune, ‘La Zita Passa’, in one case – though I have no idea what a traditionalist would make of my solo rendition, with foot tambourine added and some harmony notes tucked in around the melody.

With rather more misgiving and a much more substantial disclaimer, to the less defined geography of klezmer, specifically a dance tune known (it’s more of a categorisation than a title) as ‘Vrashaver Freylekhs’. Sometimes the best response to not being able to perform traditional material authentically is to not try, and I transferred this to viola, added some rather robust drone notes and a few ‘turnaround’-type figures from accompanying parts in the very scratchy archive recording I got from Anna Lowenstein and, again, involved the foot tambourine. I do ask that you watch the livestream including the spoken preamble before entirely judging me for using the culture of a generally historically oppressed minority while belonging to almost all the privileged demographics – this is about 38 minutes in. (My livestreams remain permanently archived on Facebook and YouTube, and accessible for 2 weeks from live broadcast on Twitch.)

Westwards, and aware that this had potential to be the most controversial decision of all, to the USA and the well-known spiritual ‘Wade in the Water’. Without any hint of tongue near cheek (I actually toned down some aspects of how I’ve performed this at open mikes etc in the past to try and be more sure I wasn’t thought to be taking the mick) and definitely no attempted American accent, in fact a deliberate effort to avoid sliding towards one. Again I ask for my comments to be heard before complaining; this was the last number of the stream and introduced about 59 minutes from the start.

Finally, in no particular geographical direction from home and with no justifiable fears about authenticity of approach, to the rarely-represented category in my livestreams (or my performing life in general) of ‘original material’ – my second prelude for solo viola. Unsurprisingly, when I’m writing anything during lockdown it’s what I can perform myself, as no one else in this country has been getting together to play music until very recently …

Of course as I write this it’s Tuesday lunchtime and the next livestream is a little over 2 days away. I’m not going to give much away, but suffice to say it’s less of a breaking out of routine than last time, but still contains a couple of surprises! Please tune in at 8 on Thursday to find out exactly what I do – or indeed you just about still have time to send in requests and tune in to make sure I play them … and either way please tip generously!

a-1, a-2, a-1-4-5-and:

Before lockdown, I had played just a couple of pub gigs (including a memorably packed and steamy Christmas one for which knitted jumpers were both de rigueur and impractical!) as guest fiddle player with the 145s, a mostly soul and rock’n’roll-oriented covers band responding to demand by expanding into some Irish territory too.

So it was very gratifying for them to be the only act (so far) to actually offer to pay me to participate in a remote collaboration video performance. I’m sure we’ve all seen loads of these: the usual model is hundreds of instrumentalists and/or singers rendering an ‘epic’ version of a well-worn classic pop song (or occasionally Pachelbel’s Canon). For my money as a viewer / listener, the ones that are actually worth listening to have a small ensemble with distinct individual voices, ideally people who pre-lockdown have performed together in person; performing something musically interesting (the Swan Consort have done some superb one-to-a-part madrigals and similar for their YouTube channel which almost win me over to the format in general). As a performer, I view the usual ‘giving us a way to play together’ description as about as thin as gigs for exposure, though fair enough if amateurs enjoy making them; personally overdubbing to backing tracks is one of my least favourite ways of being a musician and I certainly won’t be doing any more of it for free, especially not when I have to be the sound engineer and cameraman too!

The 145s’ decision to represent their Irish repertoire with the medley they cooked up for live gigs, rather than a single song, was certainly no lazy or easy choice for remote multitracking: I reckon there to be three distinct tempo changes, one out-of-time section and one long accelerando. Without destroying the mystery of artistic production too much, this meant us individual musicians used a live performance as guide for several sections rather than a generated click track … and the live audio and video found their way back into the tail end of the final mix! I reckon the end result ticks my boxes above for a remote collaboration worth doing and worth watching, and is certainly fun (especially when the quality band dancing gets going!):

And now for something completely different… when we play in the Irish pubs around london we often swap the Sax for a…

Posted by The 145s on Monday, July 6, 2020

Enjoy! (and of course, let me know if you want to hire me for any others … )

Telemann, Yeats, non-Manx-speakers and a technical hitch

On Thursday I restarted my livestream series, now continuing weekly until further notice – hopefully when I’m doing so well from a resuscitated offline and recording music industry I feel I don’t need to play online for tips. Ha ha ha.

Anyway, they are back under way. And while I like to not give away everything I’m planning to play in advance, I have no problem giving it away in retrospect. So here’s what those who tuned in got:

The Tenpenny Bit / Life is All Chequered (Irish jigs)
The Gravel Walk (Irish reel)
The Road to Lisdoonvarna / The Battle of Aughrim (Irish tunes)
Speed the Plough / The Mason’s Apron / Devil’s Dream (English and Irish reels)
Telemann, Fantasia for solo violin #4 (transposed for viola)
O Kirree t’ou goll dy faagail mee (Manx song tune, reworked by me)
Hoffmeister, Etude for solo viola #2
The Sally Gardens (song, words by WB Yeats, paired with a traditional tune)
The Dashing White Sergeant / Petronella (English tunes)
Whiskey in the Jar
(and now you can see what most of the blog title refers to)

They had more options than ever before on where to tune in! After trialling a few platforms and considering a few more, I decided to have my cake and eat it by simulcasting to three: Facebook, Twitch and YouTube. And the tool I found (after consulting a friend when my first go turned out not to enable what I thought it had been recommended for!), restream.io, does an excellent job of taking the video feed to all three without needing triple the upload bandwidth, and of combining their respective chat functions into one window I can glance at between numbers without lots of swapping between tabs/windows. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay quite enough attention when first configuring it, and so Thursday’s stream went on default Facebook settings to my personal profile, visible only to my ‘friends’ in the technical sense, rather than to my ‘page’ for musical business purposes publicly visible. I have fixed that for next time, and also reposted the archived version of the stream video to the page with public visibility, so hopefully anyone who was regrettably forced to miss the live broadcast (narrowcast?) can catch up with the performance.

As indeed can you, if you didn’t see it at the time! The full video will remain permanently (as far as I’m aware) on my Facebook page and YouTube channel; it will also be up in my Twitch videos for a fortnight from when it was streamed (so that’s until a week Thursday). And just because you’re watching on catchup doesn’t mean I’ve stopped appealing for tips: if you enjoy anything you hear, paypal.me/martinashmusic is always open …

If, on the other hand, there is anything you specifically want to hear, I’m very happy to take advance requests so contact me with them (and then I’ll consider you obliged to watch the next stream to see me play it … ).

As I said, I don’t like to give away all the details in advance, and of course I might be forced to change most of my plans by a deluge of requests (ha … ha … ha). However, I can definitely say I will be premiering a new classical composition of mine this Thursday; and, barring other events, expanding my core folk base of Irish and some English material westwards, northwards and I suppose eastwards. Intrigued? Excited? Worried? Just want to hear more live music? Join me at 8pm on Thursday – this Thursday and indeed any following Thursday!

Can I fix it? Yes, I can …

… if it’s a musician you’re after, anyway, almost certainly.

Part of my ‘offer’ applying for freelance work almost as long as I’ve been working in music has been, when the ad makes it seem relevant, ‘and I should be able to get you some others if you still need more people’. More recently, this has enabled me to pull together groups where I’ve been hired as a musical director, or string sections if I’m writing string parts for overdubbing, and so on.

The logical next step, now running rather nicely with some ongoing clients, is to take a finder’s fee for connecting organisers with musicians I know will be suitable for projects I’m not involved with at all. So it seemed the right time to open this up as a service offered for hire by adding it to my website.

Now you (and your creative friends / contacts) don’t need a contact list as extensive as mine – you can commission me to do it instead!

Return of the Streamer

There was a pause in streaming activity for a while. Partly caused by ill health (it turned out to be shingles, with the worst of it on the left side of my neck; not ideal for holding a violin, viola or even a mandolin on a neckstrap!); partly by needing to think again about marketing and come up with an ongoing plan for making livestreams pay adequately to the amount of work involved. If you wonder how much that is, imagine being the sole performer, the venue and the promoter for a one-hour gig every week, with an audience who would be likely to reasonably complain if there was more than slow and occasional repetition of repertoire …

However, I’m very pleased to say that I’m restarting regular streams from this coming week. If you enjoy my music-making, please get Thursdays, 8-9pm (UK time) into your diaries, and take your pick of these locations:

(Or you could try all three on successive weeks and see which you find most congenial!) And ready your (presumably virtual) wallets to show your appreciation for the entertainment – I’ll be plugging paypal.me/martinashmusic but any method of transferring currency to me that you have will be very welcome.

If you have requests, now or at any time in future, please do send them in in advance or comment on a stream (for the following week – I’m afraid I’m unlikely to do real-time requests, sorry!).

Barring requests over the next few days, the bill of fare for this Thursday (2 July) will include some Telemann and Hoffmeister (solo viola music from opposite ends of the 18th century), traditional songs and dance tunes with mandolin, and of course foot-tapping British fiddle tunes similar to, but not including, these:

The Irish traditional jigs ‘Roaring Jelly’ (!) and ‘Morrison’s Jig’, from my third livestream.

See you there, or at least you’ll see me and I’ll see your comments!

For Folk’s Sake, Try Happy

Back in mid-February, when this seemed a perfectly normal thing to do and we didn’t know the world as we knew it was ending in weeks, I got up rather punctually in relation to when I’d got to bed after the previous night’s wedding gig and headed to a warehouse conversion near Stratford.

There to moonlight with Fraser Parry’s alt-indie-folk pocket orchestra Try Happy – Fraser being a pianist-singer-songwriter in this context, but also the cellist in the string section recording I had done for The Amazing Devil 6 months earlier. (The third member of that section, double bassist Jack Judd, both had recommended me for that session and is a Try Happy regular. Musical networking works sometimes.)

I don’t think I was actually asleep when this was taken, but I hadn’t got much sleep …

I was going to write an allusive, partly slightly ironic, purple paragraph seeking to capture Try Happy’s sound. But I don’t know why I’d bother, as the purpose of this day’s session was to record and film three live lounge-style tracks for the extensive video series produced and curated by the For Folk’s Sake brand. So you can listen, and indeed watch, for yourselves:

I believe the other two tracks will be posted in fullness of time, so do keep checking the For Folk’s Sake and Try Happy web presences for more material!

In the meantime, here’s to it being safe (and legal, but safe might well take longer) to get together in the same room and do things like this again soon – ideally even with a live audience …