Spring Forward: the April newsletter

Hello and welcome to my first monthly newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures through music.

So far this year has flown by, but I am reassured by the fact that quite a lot has happened. The blossom’s out on the trees, I’ve had my first barbecue of the season, and I’ve been out riding my bike in the sunshine. In January I started attending guitar evening classes with the idea that one day I’ll be able to go out and accompany myself.  As much as I love playing with other musicians, it would give me so much freedom to be able to go out and play by myself. So got to keep the practice up!

I’ve also managed to squeeze in a few gigs with Diaspora, The Alyss Rose Duo and The Voice Collective.

One of my favourites was the mini gig at Platt Fields Park in March to celebrate International Women’s Day and the Indian Holi spring festival of colour. I did a short set of my favourite jazz songs of the moment including Exactly Like You, Triste and Tenderly. I was touched by the lovely reception we got from the audience. We were jammed in between lots of talented female performers and loud pumping bhangra music which fuelled the frenzied dancing and powder paint throwing. It was a great atmosphere and was so good to see lots of “grown ups” getting back in touch with their inner child and getting covered in paint and having a laugh.

I also loved the Alyss Rose Duo gig we did at the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Special FX evening in January. It was a different kind of affair altogether: an early evening, pre-theatre gig in sophisticated surroundings with drinks offers into the bargain to keep to Friday night after-workers happy. Again we were made very welcome. The audience was attentive and it was an honour to be playing in such a gorgeous room.

The end of March saw us celebrating Diaspora’s second birthday in style with a storming set at Matt n Phred’s Jazz Club. The afternoon was spent rehearsing, sound-checking, and….blowing up balloons. After all, what birthday party is complete without balloons? During the gig we were treated to some beautiful dancing from the Salsa de Cuba dance class attendees, including some very impressive samba footwork during Mas Que Nada. We’ll be back at Matt n Phred’s on Sunday 1st May for a full brassed-up big band gig.

As for future plans, I’m very excited to be joining my friend and accompanist Chris Manley as backing vocalist for his band Riverman. We had our first rehearsal last week and you’ll be able to see us playing at Jim’s Cafe, a lovely vegetarian restaurant in Colne (Lancashire) on Thursday 21st April. We are supporting the Neil C Young Trio, a guitar-led jazz trio.

Also I’m working with guitarist Julian Harris to expand the Beleza duo into a 7-piece band made up of vocals, flute, guitar, keyboard, drum kit and percussion. We’ve been writing new material and getting all our tunes ready for the first full band rehearsals. We’re also planning some recordings and live performances in the next couple of months. So I’ll keep you updated on that.

Have a look at my gig calendar to see where else I’ll be playing. I hope to see you at some of the gigs soon.

Over and out.

Alyss

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