Last week, as Polyrhythm, we bravely ventured into the murky depths and befuddling road systems of the Black Country, to Gatis community centre in Wolverhampton. We were welcomed by their lovely team, mainly comprised of youths, and made to feel quite at home there. We also got a taste of the multicultural city life, which was refreshing for those of us so used to life in Cornwall.
We arrived on Monday (8th of August), and we were given our first impression of the grounds, the people, the atmosphere, and we were excited. Their teenagers gave our teenagers a tour of the site, also giving us a chance to mingle and form friendships. I think the adults just sat down and talked, but I guess that’s just what they do. We went round the play area, then where we would be camping, then the fire pit, then to where they grew some vegetables (no bearing on our trip but still good fun). Not long after, those of the Polyrhythm team that were there (and knew how) showed the lovely Yam Yams how to build solar-powered generator kits. It went well, we all got talking some more, and then we had a bit of a jam. Those two events were the main reason why we had come, aside from general networking and friend-making. After our eventful day of travelling and meeting people, we had some pizza and were introduced to battered chips, probably a Black Country delicacy. After us campers set up our tents, we gathered around the campfire, with guitars and some bongos, and played some nice little tunes.
I was up early the next morning in a damp tent because I hadn’t put it up properly (too lazy for that) and wandered around. I talked to the people I saw, some of them zombified in their morning state, but still fresh faces nonetheless. Around midday, as I recall, we did some more jamming, preparing songs to play that evening in front of some special guests (my parents). We decided on a few tunes, the ones who weren’t confident were taught, and then there was an African drum workshop outside. This man turned up with a plethora of djembes and for a good hour or two, we were lost in the vibes. That night was another spent around the campfire, except this time with a barbecue and a couple more people. After that night, Polyrhythm headed off to Scotland but without me, the drummer, because I didn’t go so that’s all I can write about really.
All in all, it was a great experience, introducing us to some lovely people who, with any luck, we’ll be working with again in the not so distant future. It’s great to reach out to other community projects, work with each other, magpie ideas, and just coordinate on an attempt to give the youth something to do. I think we had succeeded at that by the end. A massive, massive thank you to everyone at the Gatis community centre who made us feel so welcome, it was a delight to work with you and we can’t wait to collaborate again.
Back in Spring we were looking for a good slot to fill during August after a cancellation; it would be school holidays, our youth were eager to do as much as they could and they looked at us to provide. When we had an intro to Womad Festival with the possibility to be there with our instrument library we were a little in awe. Womad for me is right up there with the best of the best! I first went back in the 80`s in Crinis, St Austell and always had a fancy to return and this was it! An invite to Womad and we were going.
We had a team of ten with us and with an expectant crowd of 40,000+ attendees we really did need them. As normal, we go the day before and leave the day after due to the set up and take down of marquees etc. With a 6 meter x 6 meter space we created it soon got filled, decorated and ready for the first day with the team we had.
over the next 4 days of being open, it was expected to be busy but i think we might just of underestimated just how busy. If Thursday was an eye opener, then Saturday with close on around 1000 children that day coming through our tent, it left us numb and best described as controlled chaos. It was fun, it was loud and I mean real loud and it was an experience our team should be proud of. Its actually quite hard to describe, the noise that was created for those 8 hours. It was like a competition to see who was loudest, the trombone, the electric violin, the E -drums (until we put headphones on it) or the microphones where at one stage we had a chap who wanted to make donkey noises for a few hours although we managed to get through about 20 mins before we had to pull the plug on that due to complaints from parents. In amongst this were pure moments of magic and those moments make everything good; the 12 year old who spent 4 days glued to our tent in awe of the Deans, Flying V`s we brought with us and really shredded it like a natural, The chap in his 70` who wandered in with his wife, sat at the piano and jazz jammed with Sam, our 17 year old Bass player and then the chap from Ashburton who simply appeared with his Saxophone and started a jam going of such impromptu beauty that soon everyone was joining in with. Its those moments that help make the magic of Womad and we had it all, in our tent over those 4 magical days.
At the festivals we attend I don't really mix out of work hours. I camp separate from the others as i want them to have fun and not to have the eye of the `boss` over them while there. They are supervised by the other adults and we find this works great with everyone. I don't go out much but i do try to see one or two from the line up. This year i had my eye on Selector and Kae Tempest. I managed to miss the Selector but the high light for me was Kae. I find the work magic how the words come to life, how they can often speak for me and when I listen, I get motivated but at the same time jealous of such a wordsmith as i find I want to write like that, I want to express in that way. To see Kae in another setting would be good but for me, Womad was brilliant for her to headline.
We came away on that Monday afternoon, a little broken and a little tired but the convo on our return trip was filled with the exciting times we had, the desire to go back and how we will carry that weekend with us for years to come. For some on our team it was their first festival experience, for others it was the first time back to a festival for 30 years. For the young people with us, it has opened eyes and ears, brought them closer to the bigger world around us and gave them a glimpse of another world. Some of those young people will move on from us next year as they head to university and full time jobs but that's not a sad thing, they make place for others of which there are many who wait turn to join in with the likes of Womad.
For the two youth who experienced working with us at their first time festival, this is what they wrote,
Today was the day we arrived at WOMAD. I drove up with Collette and arrived slightly later than the others arriving today, so when we arrived we jumped straight into helping them set up the Polyrhythm tent for tomorrow. We had a lot of fun as we did, joking around and singing with each other as well as taking snack breaks. After finally finishing the main tent we got back to camp where we had to set up our own tents. I am absolutely exhausted! But we have had a laugh doing it and we’ve had a chat and played some music.
Today has been a little chilly, but the most important part is that we opened for the public today! We spent all morning decorating the tent and getting it ready, we had a little lunch where I walked around with the boys and then it was time to work. It was a bit stunning for so many people to come in on the first day, but so many people said that they loved it – we must be doing something right! But seriously, it was so cool for everyone to turn up and have a good time playing instruments. After work we headed to Aldi for snacks, and later on this evening I went out with the boys to check out what was going on around the festival. We saw some amazing acts on different stages, we went on a fairground ride (which was so much fun!) and I managed to make a new friend too which is awesome!
Today was a bit of a struggle to get into a rhythm, there were so many kids coming into the tent and it was a little overwhelming! But I interacted with the little ones more – which is great for my experience with childcare – and I taught them how to play things like the trombone, ukulele and drums. This evening I’ve been absolutely exhausted so I’ve just been chilling in my tent all evening, it’s thankfully been really relaxing.
Today was, again, absolutely exhausting haha. We had probably a thousand children through and I was once again placed with the younger ones. It was fun though! I interacted with some toddlers and babies and worked on sound and rhythm with them and they seemed to really enjoy it. I also had Sam teach me how to play ‘Riptide’ on the ukulele! This evening I went out to see the music with Helen and Paul (who arrived today) as well as Sam and Noah and we had so much fun! There were so many amazing artists that I’d never heard of. We have ended up back at our tents quite late haha.
Today was a bit of a different set-up. It rained last night so we didn’t particularly want all the electronics out. We actually went with more of an acoustic set today and had a bit of a jam with everyone who came through! Helen and Paul stuck around for a lot of the day though they did have to leave this afternoon. Sam, Noah and I also made a new friend today! She’s lovely, from Wales. After we packed away all the instruments this evening we went and hung out with her and her family for the evening and it was a lot of fun.
Today we packed everything away ready to go home. We were packing the main tent away until around midday, then we moved onto our personal tents. Sam, John and Noah went home around 2ish, but I was stuck with Collie and Steve packing up Collie’s tent and the gazebo until something like 4.30pm, then we finally got on the road! I was pretty exhausted so was mainly on my phone with my headphones in for the car journey, but we did stop at McDonalds for dinner and we made a little stop at Colliford Lake to have a walk around and a chat which was lovely! The whole festival was amazing, but I am glad to be home now, haha!
WOMAD was an amazing experience and I am so thankful I was able to participate in it. We had so much fun as a group and really bonded, but I also got some good childcare experience which I will carry with me into the future. We made friends, joked around and saw some stunning performances and the trip is an experience I will always hold dear. To be fair, this was my first proper camping trip, as well as my first ever time at a festival, so there were some things I really wish I knew to pack haha, but overall it was just a genuinely amazing trip!
After a long car journey up, we finally arrived at WOMAD today! The moment we got here we started outing up the tent – putting all the bars together and covering it all. We did have a few breaks which were pretty entertaining. After finally finishing the tent for Polyrhythm, we finally managed to get to our camp to start setting up our sleeping tents which was exhausting. This evening we have been sitting around, chatting and listening to good music. All in all, it’s been a productive, yet exhausting, day!
Today started out with decorating the Polyrhythm tent. We opened at 2 for the public so were on a bit of a time crunch! We did manage to get it all set up by 1pm, so we managed to have a nice lunch. Sam, Lucy and I went to explore some of the grounds to find out what was going on before we got back to the tent to help out. I am here mainly for media, so I have been taking lots of photos as well as helping out by handing out instruments. At 6pm we were finally done! Sam, Lucy, Colette and I decided to make a quick trip to Aldi for dinner and snacks and this evening, Sam, Lucy and I have been out at the festival listening to live music, trying snacks and playing around. It was so fun and the staff are absolutely lovely, there is so much to do here!
Today was tiring. It was the first day of our 10-6 opening and there was so much to do. It was however quite interesting to see how young some of the children were who were playing the instruments. This evening Sam and I went to Molly’s Bar to see some of the acts and the music was awesome! It was so cool to see the diversity of some of the music.
Today was more stressful than anything, we were a bit overwhelmed with the amount of people in the tent today, probably about 1000 children came and we were a bit shocked. But this evening was a great time to let loose, again, Lucy, Sam and I went to check out some acts and saw Mr Bruce and The Flaming Lips on the open-air stage before coming back to Molly’s Bar to check out what was going on here. It was a lot of fun.
Today we had an acoustic set which was a lot more chilled out, lots less running around and protecting the instruments. This evening was fun, I hung with Lucy, Sam and a friend we made and we went to see a few acts perform and just joked around and had a laugh.
Today we were up bright and early to start packing up the Polyrhythm tent – which was exhausting – followed by our own tents. Sam, John and I left earlier than the others. On the way back we stopped at a service station for food, and managed to get stuck in some traffic, but we were quick to unload everything in the shop when we got back and I am finally home!
I really enjoyed WOMAD, the music was amazing and the food was so good! I do wish that I’d brought a few more things though, pillows would have been handy and better snacks instead of just pot noodles haha. But I really enjoyed this experience, it was such a great time!
The 8th of July 2022 had arrived, and Pandafest was back with a vengeance. This year yielded some real diversity. From rock to rockabilly, skiffle to ska, and dub to club. Topped off with a sweet slice of trippy prog-rock, this bash certainly lived up to its promise of good music and good vibes. Two stages together with stalls, Rewind Radio satellite tent, burger bus and bar, all blessed with glorious sunshine...what could be better?
How about an opportunity to make music of your own?
Polyrhythm had this covered. Bodmin’s innovative music library had set up camp with their marquee in pole position near the main-stage with a truckload of guitars, amps, keyboards, drums, ukuleles and open mic-stands. More musical instruments than you could shake a stick at. Practically a replica of their HQ in Bodmin, transported here and staffed by our handful of enthusiastic local musicians. In-between the stage acts the Polyrhythm crew took up the baton... took up instruments and played short medleys of popular songs to festival goers milling around the side attractions, generating interest.
A teenager still buzzing from her dance troupe performance decided she wasn’t yet done. In she came and took up a microphone. Garry cued the track, and the youngster delighted the gathering as she sang her solo. As more onlookers dropped by, it wasn’t long before I was being asked why all these musical instruments were on parade. “Are you a shop? Only nothing is priced”. “Not quite, we’re a music library- instead of books we loan out musical instruments for free. We do have premises in Bodmin town, what you see here is our shop window”. “That right? What a good idea, I’ve not heard of anything like that before” “Yeah we’re pretty unique, fancy a go on anything?” “Well once upon a long ago I played bass guitar, it’ll be caked in dust by now, and heaven knows what became of my old amp”. “We can easily fix you up with one, just have a peek at our website and take your pick, then come down to the shop and get sorted.” Moments later he’d selected a bass from the rack, and was plunking away. I accompanied him on guitar and he was soon grinning from ear to ear, then his lad took over. I showed him some basic moves which he soon got the hang of, and was playing away happily before his proud Dad. Before long our tent had slowly filled with youngsters, exploring the array of instruments on display. Polyrhythm was getting into swing, and all the crew had their hands full guiding these musicians of tomorrow. We nicknamed one young fellow “Duracell” because he played the bongos nearly all afternoon without pause, obviously having fun. Good job the main drum kit was wired up with headphones...
Day two at Pandafest, and the sun still had his hat on.
Me too. Today I had prepared for the heat. Clad in whacky shorts, turquoise T-shirt and bushwhacker’s hat; I cut a figure like an Australians nightmare. Hopefully I could blend in with the revellers. Fat chance of that happening, as I don’t have a single tattoo.
Unlike the weather, activity around our tent was a bit of a slow burner this morning. No matter as it gave our crew an opportunity to jam amongst ourselves for a while, and get some music going on. This would do the trick.
Soon enough, we were again handing out instruments to curious festival goers as they took our lead and enjoyed the musical mayhem. Today proved to be far busier, but what the hell...it was great fun to be part of this magical atmosphere. I was really impressed by the number of children enthusiastically tinkling the keyboards, taking up microphones and singing without any inhibition at all. They all continued even despite being drowned out by the thudding of the band performing onstage. I can only assume that they too are blessed with the selective hearing that until now I thought that only we husbands employed.
What a weekend! Sun, music and fun.
Only music can enter the ears and emanate your whole being. This is the mission of Polyrhythm. Unlock your hidden talent and make music, it doesn’t matter how. We are here to help make this a reality.
Big thank you to all those who made this fab weekend possible.
See you next year.
PolyRhythm was lucky enough to have been asked to help support the community and cultural events in St Austell Town centre this year, Tresorys.
Tresorys Kernow (Cornish Treasures) is a pilot project to breathe new life into towns and villages, with culture and heritage bringing some joy in the context of Covid recovery and climate adaptation. This project was fully funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund with Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) and Creative Kernow shared out through Cornwall Council, to bolster and regenerate towns and villages and we were proud to be part of it.
A big part of PolyRhythm is to bring people together, to support our community and our High Streets so this was right up our street, so to say. We also have a desire to do more in St Austell and this could be a great way for us to start this going.
Working with the famous Shelia Vanloo who made it all work so well and brought so much energy to the town, it opened our eyes as to what could be in the future. If this was a pilot project then we want to be part of the larger project, we want to return and we came away with the demands from the community to return.
Colin Stuckey who came into Town to join in for the day has taken time to write a little on his experience of the day.
Sat 18. June
What a day... I felt privileged to be invited along to join in as part of this exciting happening. Polyrhythm were booked to create a pop up event at the old Eden Cafe St.Austell, and replicate the Bodmin HQ with a comprehensive range of musical instrument stock to pick up and play, then to play a live performance in the square outside as part of the ongoing Tresorys events.
Old Eden Cafe was chokka, everything from a child-size guitar to a full blown slide trombone (sorry about the pun), and a myriad of other instruments all handsomely laid out on display for everyone to pick up and have a go.
Very soon there was a lively scene inside with people milling around and a mild cacophony of sound as visitors tried out this and that. Amid this good atmosphere, I hastily tuned up my guitar, eager to play and support our jolly little band. Soon enough we had the word to decamp and move outside. This I was looking forward to...What could be better than playing the universal language of music with a group of friends under the warm sun? We all spilled outside, and Freddie was ready with his camera to capture it all.
Collette and Helen’s vocal harmonies were ringing out splendidly with Paul adding his baritone, then his cool rendition of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found”. Backing them were myself and Alex on lead and rhythm guitars, Sam slapping on bass, and Tom’s steady beat on the drums. Beside me Paul2 beat out a tireless tattoo on bongos. All under the watchful eye of Garry as he managed the sound on the solar powered PA system responsible for energising our mics and guitars, and then later sharing bass guitar duties.
As the good people of St.Austell gathered, many gave up a moment of their day to join the fun by shaking tambourines and maracas as their children hesitantly inched further towards the pyramid of junior guitars. Garry was on hand again to pass them out, and then replenish from the seemingly unlimited collection from indoors.
We were joined by musicians known to the others who dropped by, I especially enjoyed playing along with a chap in a rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “hey Joe” and “Little Wing” with Collette earlier before. Paul, Helen and Collette took turns leading the songs, and our audience of shoppers sat a while to listen and shake or rattle anything percussive on display. Everybody appeared to be enjoying themselves as much as we were. When Sam left his post to help load up near the end of time, a chap from the audience filled in for him and played a blinder. That’s what Polyrhythm is all about. Come in, join in, and have fun.
Yes, the weird, whacky and wonderfully flashy world of the Dean Guitar glitterati. Championed by metal-masters the world over. Wouldn’t you just love to get your hot little hands on one of these crackers, just to try out? If this is you, then form an orderly queue down at Polyrhythm. Bodmin’s innovative music library and jam central.
I was fortunate enough to have such an opportunity when attending an open mic jam session there one rainy Saturday. After a quick registration at the desk, I checked out that afternoon with my prize, a genuine Dean ML Explorer. Could it really be this easy? All I was asked in return was a written review and a few pics. Bring it on.
Back at home and dizzy with excitement, I wasted no time Strapping up and plugging into my stack. What followed after some minor adjustments yielded a surprisingly mellow full bodied tone instead of high octane thrash, although the latter was readily achieved with a quick tinker on my pedal board. The guitar despite its ace outlandish shape was really comfortable to play, and the Floyd Rose Special locking-trem was pitch perfect despite enthusiastic dive-bombing. In fact this guitar responded well no matter what style I played. Incredibly versatile, and responding effortlessly whether giving it stick, or gentle rhythm picking. The solid mahogany body with its flame maple top resonated perfectly, delivering rich full sustain, and my fingers flitted effortlessly across the ebony fret board. This guitar has class, and sounds as good as it looks.
It was going to be difficult to contain myself at band practice later that afternoon, what would the others make of this metal-monster? We are a covers band, not death-metal. Then again, we include numbers by Iron Maiden, Bad Co and ZZ Top in our set, some extra pep would be good, just as long as I didn’t go too ballistic with this crutch-rocket.
At band HQ, the Dean’s eye catching shape got plenty of attention, and by the end of our session my band members were fully on board. Our drummer, Frank, told me afterwards that he had been sceptical at first, but was won over after just a few numbers. Even when I gave it some proper punishment during solos, it sang as sweet as a bird and fully justified its price-tag, for cheap they are not.
The only slight detriment is the guitar’s nearly four foot length, and the wide split-vee headstock did get caught on my mic stand once or twice. One does need a fair bit of space wielding this pitchfork, and I’ve knocked over a fair few cups of tea and glasses of vino. So give it plenty of swing room and don’t light any candles okay?
Yet this is mere nit-picking. This axe is a sure winner, and gigging with it has given me a massive boost in both confidence and stage presence.
Colin J Stuckey. Stone River Band.
Being a rather creative bunch of people, we often feel the need to step out of the box, do away with restrictions and just have a bit of fun and a few weeks ago we done exactly that.
In this case, the box we stepped out of was our shop. The sun was shining on a beautiful Saturday and the Park was calling us. We needed to be outside and we took our tribe of troubadours down through the town to a place where we hope will eventually become an outdoor Amphitheatre. We have spoken of this before; we were key players in the initial plans and we wanted to visualise what it would be like if we were able to play there. Being doers as much as thinkers, we put our thoughts into plans, loaded the PA bike and grabbed a load of instruments and Trombone led our way down through the town.
This was not just an opportunity for us to have some fun, to enable people to join in but also for us to share a little cheer on the way with Kelvin at The Pad and who runs Equable Abled, a community group that supports people with SEN and Disabilities. We called him out through song and spread a little happy towards him.
Once over the park, we found the spot, sorted the Solar Powered PA system, plugged in and played. We brought extra instruments as so others could join and although it was impromptu, people did actually stop and watch, sing along and some went off to grab a guitar or two and play along with us. We had 3 hours there in the sun, we had fun, and we could visualise what could be here in this place. We came away with plans to do a few more sessions, promote it more and get a few more orgs to join in, those who we know would use it, who, like us are in need of an accessible and space to perform, to entertain and to bring our community together.
Its day like these that I fall in love again with the place I grew up in. When the sun shines, when people come together, when laughter rings out and the pressures of life fall away. Life can be hard at times but days like this help you to get through. I feel that there will be a few dark days ahead for many so maybe this kind of thing will help as I know it helps us. Is an amphitheatre the answer? Who knows but we are going to find out.
On the border between England and Wales, in the quaint town of Hay on Wye, each year they hold a unique festival – How The Light Gets In.
"There is a crack in everything...that's how the light gets in", goes the Leonard Cohen song from which the festival gets its name. And How The Light Gets In brings its own special form of magic to everyone. There is no other place on the planet where you can party and dance late into the night, fill your days with the world's leading thinkers, and discover the most cutting-edge ideas.
The festival is billed at the world's largest Philosophy and Music Festival and we took PolyRhythm and the team to entertain there for the weekend with the magic we bring and our junk instruments for all and any to try.
How The Light Gets In is not just another festival. There's something special in the air. It's alive with ideas and conversations. How The Light Gets In is not just another festival. There's something special in the air. It's an amazing place of wonder and creating a space where everyone's imagination can flourish and PolyRhythm was quite at home there as we enticed people in to pick up and play, to join in a jam or just to while away time and listen to others.
We spent 4 days there with our team, 4 great days where we discovered developed and delivered. I`m not quite sure who got most out of this event, the participants or us and i think it was us and especially the youth with us. It gave chance for people of all ages to play together and for 8 hours a day, they played and then played some more. We had performers who took stage the night before, headlining the festival, come to join in with us the next day and as they said, for the vibe we gave off, it`s something they wanted to be part of, it was friendly fun and free. For us, it was organic. We generally turn up, set up and wait for people to pick up. Once the music starts off, it generally doesn’t stop for the weekend and so often far beyond through future offers of collaboration, followers on Facebook and visits to where we are next or to our base back in Cornwall.
We really didn’t quite know what to expect at this festival, we had read about it, researched it and had a minds vision of it but until we are there, until the people join in, it's just a vision of our imagination. What we realised there was quite different, there were more adult participants than children and the adults wanted to play just as much and this was great to see as so often, they are more reserved and its children to dive straight in but to see the joy it delivered to an older audience was magic. The smiles we helped create and the memories made simply through music, a bit of funk or soul on rainy Sunday morning or the soundbites from Saturday, each day was magic. It really is something we want to return to as although we were there to work, the work was more pleasure with friendships made and the inspiration gained through a few beats of a song.
For us, its our second year of festivals with PolyRhythm and it helped open up our eyes and thoughts to what could be. We want to go back but we also want much much more. The experience it gave our young people with us and the ideas that stemmed from that need to be explored more. The Solar power units that provided power to our amps and some of the junk instruments have so much more potential and again, should go bigger and should be explored more.
Conversations came easy at How The Lights Get In and i think it may be because they have open minds and can understand the changes we want to see as they also want those changes. They understand the way we work and the overall idea of a share library of musical instruments; the likes they have never seen before and realise they want one in their town because they are simply magic.
My favourite quote of the weekend was from a new friend called John who stated that the last time he was in Cornwall he was there for the eclipse and spent a long weekend with Jimmy Pursey and a few bottles of Cidre. I knew from that point, I was in the right place with the right people.
We hope we are back there next year as we really did enjoy it. Philosophy and Music may not be everyone's cup of tea buts its ours and we loved it and we thank you for letting us be there for the weekend.
John – Team PolyRhyhtm
If you wander down Bodmin High Street on a Saturday afternoon, don’t be surprised if you hear the sound of laughter and music blasting out of one of the shops. Its really kind of uplifting for a wet Saturday, in winter, in a town where you wouldn’t normally expect it. That shop just happens to be ours; PolyRhythm and the Musical Instrument Library.
We have watched our Jam sessions grow organically since way back in November and its really kind of special. At first, one or two people would call in to hire an instrument, try before they take home, pluck a few notes, sing the odd song or three. And then, before we knew it, we find we can get 20+ in our shop on any given Saturday.
What strikes me is the way that it helped tackle many issues that our community face, the problem of social isolation, the problem that poverty brings with it and the mental health issues like anxiety. Thats not to say that everyone who comes through our door to take part face these issues but what it does say is that the space that has been created, is warm and welcoming, its non-judgemental and its open to all. Most off all though, its fun and that’s the bit that has been missing from life in the last few years.
Polyrhythm is really lucky in the way that we have Colette to head up these sessions and oversee the library. To her it's her dream job, to those participating she is a goddess! She simply plucks out tunes each week that set the tone and the rhythm of the day, she is mindful of those taking part as so that all abilities can join in and somehow organised enough to make sure the instruments are ready, serviced and set up with the help of her youth volunteers who are just as eager to get playing, Tom on drums, Sam on base and Blaine rapping along to the beats. Alongside regulars who support this, we find Helen and Paul who simply are fantastic. They have given us on long term loan a PA system to help with a more professional touch and Helen has started a Youth Session after the Jam finishes in the later part of the afternoon. This we have found, helps the youth go to the next level and have recently been recording with Paul at the helm guiding the use of the software and editing, while Helen takes over the sound room to bang out vocals from the young participants that leave even them shocked at just how good they are.
Now, if we thought it was good, well it's just got a boost to make things even better! We have found support from Feast in the way of a small grant and it has come just at the right time. We were getting desperate for a projector to be installed as we found that a few didn’t know words or the chords and now they can, Its also going to be great use for our guitar lessons that see 20 + each week. For the Jam sessions, It will really help with them being more organised and structured. We always faced a problem of servicing each item before / after the sessions and many times we simply didn’t have enough instruments as some were often waiting to be restrung, set up or at times we simply needed more. And now we can, we can get these things sorted and get jamming on the high street.
I could write on and on about these sessions we hold and to be honest, they really are magic. I have come to see that the language of music is international, it crosses all ages and it is powerful. It can lift you high and set your day on fire. We see it and feel it each week, the 16-year-olds setting the pace for the 60-year-olds to rap along to, we see the 60-year-olds teaching the 16-year-olds the techniques they have learned and now pass down for lifelong learning. Skills exchanged across the ages and our fantastic women leading the way. This is how we lead our community out of Covid, how we grow back together and how we learn to live once more!
Here is just a small sample of what has been created. Its raw, organic and its ours! Its what ignites our participants and keeps them coming back, its what Polyrhythm is all about and we love it!
Follow the links to our Facebook page and see for yourself.
Desert Island Discs with the Community Team of SWW
We were lucky enough to be granted support from South West Water Community Team that came via the fine people at Action Funder. ( link Below)
For those who are unsure who Action Funder is then go check them out as they bridge the gap between Corporate and Communities. They offer many things and very often this is Grant Funding for project work. Ours came via SWW and their community team as so we could work with young people in our recording studio so we could teach them to use the software so they could then teach others. They saw us a quite a unique project and gave us some support that helped kick start the youth involvement in the radio and recording studio.
They not only supported us, they also came to visit.
One Friday afternoon in early March, we welcomed the community team into our library and studio. Both Nancy and Si from SWW were quite impressed with the musical instrument library we had set up on the high street and that it has attracted a lot of youth involvement and not just due to access to instruments.
We planned the afternoon to do a Radio style Desert Island Discs where both Si and Nancy could choose their tracks, a book and an item and over the next hour we recorded the session that, I must say, went really well. It was comfortable, honest, informative and fun. The youth got the most out of it as they recorded not just the sound but through our media students, they helped capture the session through film.
Our recording booth is not the high tec booth that you would find in a top end recording studio. We built it ourselves on a small budget and spent the majority of the money we had on the computers, equipment and software. It may be basic but for us, it's simply the best. It's on our high street and its accessible to all in our community who would like to use it. We do plan to invest in it further if we can find the money that will enable it but until then we use it as it was set out to be used; a tool for teaching youth, a space that is accessible for all, a place where we can help you record, edit and upload your music to where you want it to be and we are currently working with other young people who are in that process.
With support we manage to do great things as SWW community team found out and when we do get support, it is so often our youth that benefit.
Action Funder link - https://www.actionfunder.org/
We will share a link when it will be played on the radio next. Just waiting for the nod from SWW.
Over the last few months we have worked with young people on solar power systems and made portable power kits. We spent the day in the library making the solar kits and learning about the components, the wiring, battery storage and inverters. Once we made the portable power kits, they wanted to see what they would power and much to their delight they found it would power their PA system, guitars, drums, mics and so much more. It was a real pleasure to see that they had created something from scratch and gained new found skills and understanding. What was noted was that in real terms, the closest they get to anything solar powered is seeing it on houses and in fields, so to actually learning how to make a working system and then to discover what it would do and ways they could use it, for them was inspiring.
Soon they realised that they could power their band anywhere they wanted so with that we tested the theory out with a trip to the moors and actually took their Music to the Moors ! During Half Term, we loaded the van, packed a BBQ and took a trip out to Colliford Lake on Bodmin Moor. We wanted to be as Off Grid as we could and this is as much as remote as we could get. The results were fantastic to see and such a reward for all the work they put in to this. We often talk about engaging with youth and we think we do much more than that. Our youth are really inspiring and leading the way as its not every day you see solar powered bands and especially ones that are youth led.
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