End of a fabulous year! 2013

I can't believe I have not updated my blog since June!
What a fabulous year it's been for Kontaani. The band have enjoyed some great gigs including playing under Concorde's belly at Manchester Airports Gala Dinner for the opening of the new Air Traffic Control Tower. Our performances are getting slicker and more powerful. I'm very proud of my hard working band - but there is so much further to go yet!

We introduced Krin into our repetoire recently and trained with our old mentor and friend David Woolley to put together a new number led by Debs with 5 or 6 Krins in the ensemble. It's been a thoroughly enjoyable experience to introduce new instruments and our next venture will be with the Balafon! One step at a time though eh?

Kontaani Drumfest 2014 is well underway and places are more or less full with just a handful left.  This has just grown and grown over the past two years with word spreading about what a laid back friendly small festival it is and what a lovely bunch of drummers we all are.  It's a pleasure to spend time amongst like minded happy folk who are brought together by one common bond - drumming.

My trial Saturday morning beginners drumming class was well attended with students going on to perform at the Christmas Performance and Party on the 8th December at the hall. Some lovely new friendships were forged during the 6 week course and most went on to join the Wednesday group when the course ended.

What a fabulous night the Christmas performance was!  All students split into 3 bands and took to the stage in turn to play a number each to a huge audience of family and friends - they were all amazing! I was so very proud.
The Kontaani performance troupe played afterwards, goodness knows how we sounded as most of us were tiddly to say the least!
I was totally gobsmacked to be presented with gifts from the students and band members - a Rowan Tree which produces purple berries! It has been planted at the bottom of my garden by the river and been named KONTAANI. I was also given the most exquisite life sized Hare which has been comissioned in metal for me by sculpting artist Andy Hill. It's beautiful!  I will dearly treasure both gifts - well chosen for me! Perfect in fact!

Mon Duncalf from Demon Recording came over to the hall to do a test recording of the band in the summer.  It sounded fantastic through the headphones afterwards and we have decided to cut an EP with Mon but so many gigs and preparation for the Christmas Performance have got in the way.  Plans to record the EP around Spring time are underway. No doubt we will have a launch party at the hall in true Kontaani style! Watch this space.

Our wonderful friend the amazing djembefola IYA SAKO came to the hall to do a full day of workshops for us in October - It's always a wonderful pleasure to drum with Iya, he is such a patient and sympathetic teacher. When Iya smiles his big grin at you when you get it right it's the best feeling.

Our band tutors and my personal tutors Jamie and Beej are once again running workshops at Drumfest - I am in awe of these guys. They are not just superb, charasmatic and awesome players but I'm also proud to call them friends.  They are so supportive of the band and everything I try to do with Kontaani. They are a pleasure to drum with and hang out with.  I can't praise these guys enough for the wonderful tuition and mentorship.
It will be great to have them back again when Jamie returns from Africa in February to work with our band again.

I was recently overhelmed to be asked to play with all girl drumming band Wangari this year. They are all some of the most awesome women drummers around.  Unfortunately my time is so limited that I could not fully comit to the band but I am so looking forward to doing the odd gig with them in 2014!

Last year my personal New Years pledge was to give up alcohol for the whole of January for the Dryathlon in aid of Cancer Research. Never in a million years did I think I could do it but I did, raising much needed funds for such a worthy charity.
Poignant, as this year also saw the passing of our wonderful friend and Kontaani drummer Gill. Our band and a few of her class and  fellow drummers played at her funeral - an honor and fitting tribute to a beautiful lady. Gill left me her drum - it will be cherished always, I am very proud of it, I really loved her.

This year my pledge is to myself. Rather selfish perhaps but much needed - It's time I changed my lifestyle in order to progress to the level of drumming I need to be at. I need desperately to get fit and lose weight to have more stamina for more strenuous soloing technique and extended playing time.
I need to build up the confidence in my body which I lost since breaking my back. I know it's unlikely to happen again and yet I'm still afraid of falling or tripping which discourages me from certain fitness activities not to mention playing my drum stood up!
I know for a fact there is an amazing drummer lady locked in this body and it's up to me to invest time and effort in my fitness and to do justice to my private lessons with Jamie by practicing daily to encourage her to come out!   I'm looking forward to meeting her!

Just over a month ago I was asked to be interviewed for the Parish Magazine due to my work with Kontaani in Langley and my links with this beautiful village in which I have lived for nearly 30 years. Prior to that I worked in Langley from the age of 15 for 4 years when I left school. My great grandfather was from Langley and used to run for Langley Harriers. I didn't take after him in the athletics field I'm afraid!
My work with Kontaani in Langley and holding the classes and performances at the hall (which is lovingly called Kontaani HQ) provides valuable rent and funds towards keeping our beloved hall going strong.  I'm proud, very proud to be able to contribute towards the upkeep of this much loved center of village life.  I'm also very grateful to have such a wonderful venue on my doorstep in which I can teach my amazing music.
A big thank you to Viv and the village hall commitee for allowing me to use this wonderful space and thank you also to the long suffering neighbours who never complain about the noise!  I can't wait to see the article in this months Parish Magazine. When Viv came round to interview me a few glasses of wine were consumed by me as the tongue got much more looserer hic!  What a wonderful thing to ask me to do - fame at last!

I'm sure there is so much more I could write about but time is ticking and I have organisational stuff to do for Drumfest 2014 so it only remains for me to say a massive thank you to the students, band members, tutors, fans, friends and families of KONTAANI for making this the best year yet!
I truly love you all my Kontaani family.

Happy New Year to you all and here's to a BANGING 2014 !
Lots of love
Marie xxx
 

3 comments

  • Rebecca Harrison

    Rebecca Harrison Sutton St. James Rainbows

    Thank you for the wonderful inspiring mini Workshop with the young Rainbows, you were brilliant, they really enjoyed it and took pleasure in being encouraged to make a bang. All the best for 2014.

    Thank you for the wonderful inspiring mini Workshop with the young Rainbows, you were brilliant, they really enjoyed it and took pleasure in being encouraged to make a bang. All the best for 2014.

  • Kontaani Djembe Drumming Group

    Kontaani Djembe Drumming Group

    Awww Rebecca, bless your heart! Thank you so much! The Rainbows were adorable and I loved every minute of it - YOU of course made it very easy for me with your 'way' with children. Loads of love to you and yours at New Year and hope to see you drumming soon my friend. Marie x

    Awww Rebecca, bless your heart! Thank you so much!
    The Rainbows were adorable and I loved every minute of it - YOU of course made it very easy for me with your 'way' with children.
    Loads of love to you and yours at New Year and hope to see you drumming soon my friend.
    Marie x

  • rachael hall

    rachael hall manchester

    Thank you so much for so many beautiful events full of beautiful people and amazing music from all. But most of all thank you for the wonderful way you bring everyone together. It's truly a priceless talent...... May 2014 bring everything you wish for a deserve and that's..............everything! xxxx

    Thank you so much for so many beautiful events full of beautiful people and amazing music from all. But most of all thank you for the wonderful way you bring everyone together. It's truly a priceless talent...... May 2014 bring everything you wish for a deserve and that's..............everything! xxxx

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