Just to let you know that Jeremy Deller will be on Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, Sunday 6th January at 11.15am. As we have collaborated with Jeremy on 3 different projects we anticipate getting a mention and some of our music may be played (can say no more).
We will all be glued to the radio although the programme will also be available shortly afterwards on-line. It will also be repeated on Friday 11th January at 09.00.
The Melodians were all saddened to hear of the death of David Bowie after an 18 month battle with cancer. He was a great talent and will be sorely missed.
The Melodians recorded a video playing one of his most famous songs ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ at the British Council in 2013. They also recorded the music at Abbey Road Studios in March 2013 as part of the soundtrack for the ‘English Magic’ video created by Jeremy Deller.
If you would like to listen to the unusual sound of a Steel Orchestra playing David Bowie then here is the link:
The Melodians took part in a concert jointly with the Pandemonium Steel Band at St Teresa’s School in Effingham on Saturday 12th September. This collaboration was to celebrate the exciting year that the Melodians have had and also the fact that Pandemonium will be disbanding when 3 of the players go off to University. Nicky Fairey (front row, third from right) organised the farewell event.
The Melodians played an exciting mix of audience favourites including Bohemian Rhapsody, The Man Who Sold The World, Rasputin and their latest new composition ‘Clay Cargo’ which was played for the first time at Kings Cross in August.
The hall was crowded with a fantastic audience including a large number of boarders from St Teresa’s. Both groups received a wonderful standing ovation from the audience at the end of their performances.
A sad farewell to Pandemonium but an exciting first public concert for the Melodians to follow on from their free concert at Myatt’s Field in Brixton.
We have now upgraded our website so you can buy our CDs directly from us and pay with PayPal instead of listing via Ebay. Go to the CDs tab and see the 3 CDs that are available. All funds go to supporting the Melodians which is a registered charity (Registered Charity No 1036904).
Celebrate with the Melodians the news that Terry Noel, the founder and leader of the Melodians Steel Orchestra UK, has been appointed by HM Queen Elizabeth II as an MBE in the New Year Honours for 2015 – for his services to Music.
Terry formed the Melodians in October 1987 and has been the Leader ever since. The Melodians is a ‘not for profit’ organisation and became a registered charity in 1994. The Melodians currently has 34 members with ages ranging from 11 to over 70.
The achievements of the Melodians in the past 27 years have been numerous and diverse. Among other things:
They played at 8 successive Commonwealth Day services in Westminster Abbey
They played at 14 consecutive BT Christmas concerts at the Royal Albert Hall
They have played at a number of Royal Garden Parties
The versatility of the orchestra’s repertoire has been recognised and it has received two Performing Rights Society Enterprise Awards, a Royal Anniversary Challenge Award and a BT Innovation Award
They have travelled around the world to perform at music festivals, British Embassies for the Queen’s Birthday Parties and other events.
In 2013 they travelled to Venice to participate in the 55th Venice International Art Biennale having recorded the background music for Jeremy Deller’s film ‘English Magic’ that was displayed in the British Pavilion.
They also took part in the Making Music ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme in 2011 and worked with Neil Luck on a new composition that was played on Radio 3 in early 2012.
They played at the Paralympic Games torch relay in 2012
They played at Windsor Castle for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
It is through the hard work and dedication of Terry Noel as their leader that all of this has been possible. He is the person with the vision to see the potential of a steel orchestra and he takes the initiative to constantly seek out new challenges. In his view nothing musical is impossible for the Melodians.
The final English Magic exhibition opened on the 11th October at the Turner Contemporary on the seafront in Margate. Of course the Melodians were invited to open the exhibition with a concert. There was a packed gallery for the concert and the Melodians played at 2pm and 4pm. The added attraction in Margate is that the Turner has a resident 80 strong choir called ‘The Big Sing’. The Melodians were invited to do 3 pieces accompanied by the choir as part of a project called Soundslikeart. They went down there the week before for a full rehearsal with the choir. The 3 joint songs were received to tumultuous applause.
As you can see the gallery was packed with fans who wanted to hear the Melodians and also the choir.
The Melodians played all the music from the English Magic film plus a number of their other favourites including Bohemian Rhapsody.
You can see videos of 3 of the pieces by following the YouTube link on this page.
The Melodians visited Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday 20th September to give a 45 minute performance at the ending of the English Magic Exhibition and run a workshop for anyone interested in learning about steelbands. This was arranged by the museum after the success of the English Magic opening event in April. The English Magic Exhibition will be opening in Margate on 11th October. See the Projects page for more details of the Margate event.
It was obvious that the crowd had already seen the Melodians in April and had seen the English Magic film many times. They were really excited to listen to the Melodians live again. The Melodians were overwhelmed by the reaction of the audience and thrilled to get a standing ovation at the end of the performance.
Some of the comments received after the event from the audience and the Melodians:
“Thanks again for ‘Saturday’, it was a really loving atmosphere and perfect ending to the show! Happy to hear you all loved it too”.
“It was a great vibe today – I really enjoyed it!”
“Standing ovation…! What more can I say!
“We appeared very well received!”
“So good to know that people have listened to the Abbey Road recording over and over again and came especially to hear us in some cases (as I was told)!”
The UK tour of the English Magic exhibition started at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow on the 18th January to 30th March. It then moved onto the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery from the 12th April and will finish there on the 21th September. The final leg of the tour will be at the Turner Contemporary in Margate starting on the 11th October until 11th January 2015. The Melodians have already played at the first 2 legs (see photos below) and will also be playing at the opening of the exhibition in Margate. Also see the Projects page and links to read about the exciting performance that will be taking place in Margate on October 11th which will include a unique collaboration between the Big Sing Choir, based at the Turner, and the Melodians Steel Orchestra.
William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow Thursday 6th March
The Melodians played on the 6th March during the first leg of the English Magic tour. Whilst there Jeremy Deller presented the Jeremy Deller trophy to Cheynne for the Melodians ‘Most Improved Player’. This is a new award which had to be delayed from the Christmas concert but this was an ideal opportunity for it to be presented.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery Wednesday 9th April 2014
The Melodians were a key part of the opening of the 2nd leg of the English Magic tour which took place in Bristol at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery in Queen’s Road.
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