Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My Old Heart.

Evening Strumpets,

Tightening this up a bit.



Let me know what you think!

Till the next one learn something new,

Mark.

Monday, 17 February 2014

My Old Man and Nouvelle Musique Radio show.

Evening Strumpets,

Last week the good men who are behind That Nouvelle Music Show on Ignition Radio, Matt Speight and Daniel Cook, had me on as a guest.  I rather enjoyed myself and played a couple of Charmers Songs acoustic like as well as a rendition of a Stranglers song on the banjo.  Thanks to the chaps for having me there.



I am taking advantage of having an empty house (Wife and Thing One in London for birthday treats, Thing Two at Nana's) has allowed me to write something on the Cumbus, which is starting to sound a bit like it should, though still very rusty.  Curse the fretless neck!!!!

As usual just throwing sounds at the tune so words may well be changed.



Till the next one, learn something new.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Jimbush City Limits.

Evening Strumpets,

I had the good fortune to see three rather excellent bands last Saturday night at The Georgian Theatre in Stockton.  John and the Ragmen, Paris XY (my new favourite band) were supporting The Purnells for the launch of their spanking new CD "A half step in the shadows".  I got chatting to Stu who is the frontman for The Purnells, and he happened to mention that he had a Jimbush that he was looking to sell.
I had no idea what one of these things were but when he mentioned it as being "a banjo with a bucket on it"  well, I just had to have it.

This is the bucket part of it.  The  cümbüş (to give it it's home name) is a Turkish instrument and the names translates into English as "fun" or "revelry".   My wife and children would disagree with this.  It was an absolute nightmare to restring (four strings snapped in the car on the way home).  It has 12 strings and tuned to ABEABG.

That is a peg which you can twist to bring the fretless neck closer or further away from the strings.  I'll let Wikipedia take over for a bit.

"The cümbüş (/mˈbʃ/Turkish pronunciation: [dʒymˈbyʃ]) is a Turkish stringed instrument of relatively modern origin. It was developed in 1930 by Zeynel Abidin Cümbüş (1881–1947) as an oud-like instrument that could be heard as part of a larger ensemble.[1]
The cümbüş is shaped like an American banjo, with a spun-aluminum resonator bowl and skin soundboard. Although originally configured as an oud, the instrument has been converted to other instruments by attaching a different set of neck and strings.[2] The standard cümbüş isfretless, but guitar, mandolin and ukulele versions have fretboards. The neck is adjustable, allowing the musician to change the angle of the neck to its strings by turning a screw.[3] One model is made with a wooden resonator bowl, with the effect of a less tinny, softer sound.
After the Turkish War of Independence Zeynel Abidin Cümbüş wanted to create a new instrument to embody the ideals of peace, an instrument for the masses. He switched his company from dealing with arms to manufacturing musical instruments for "the support of peace through music." In a meeting with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, he showed one of his new inventions. It was "an inexpensive instrument easy to transport and hard to break, capable of playing both Eastern alaturka music and, with a quick change of removable necks, Western alafranga music as well." A modern instrument for a modern country.[1]  After the Turkish War of Independence Zeynel Abidin Cümbüş wanted to create a new instrument to embody the ideals of peace, an instrument for the masses. He switched his company from dealing with arms to manufacturing musical instruments for "the support of peace through music." In a meeting with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, he showed one of his new inventions. It was "an inexpensive instrument easy to transport and hard to break, capable of playing both Eastern alaturka music and, with a quick change of removable necks, Western alafranga music as well." A modern instrument for a modern country.[1]
The cümbüş was inexpensive and was bought by people who couldn't afford a more expensive instrument; as a result, his dream the masses accepting it was marginalized. The instrument became a folk instrument of the poor and of ethnic minorities in Turkey, including RûmArmenians,JewsKurds, and Romani, "playing indigenous folk music or repertoires shared with ethnic Turks." It was excluded specifically by classical musicians of the era, being seen as lower-class or ethnic. A perception grew of it being "other" or ethnic or different or lower-class, and Turkish society did not adopt the instrument widely. By the 1960s, use of the cümbüş declined among these minorities, except for Román professional musicians. They adopted the instrument because of its ability to be heard alongside the other instruments they played at weddings and parties."



I have to admit that it had me confused for a while.  The tuning is not like anything I'm used to, and the fretless neck is a bit of a bugger to get to grips with.  However perseverance led to a little ditty which you can hear below, with mistakes intact.  It's always good to hear what you sound like when you first pick up an instrument.




Finally here's a picture of the mad old sod who invented it.  I think he looks like Jack The Biscuit!



Till the next one, learn something new,

Mark.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Fischer Thing.

Afternoon Strumpets,


The Alice Charmers were played on the rather excellent Bob Fischer's Radio Show last Saturday night on BBC Radio Tees.  We are on right at the very end, but we will be on the show playing live and talking about all sorts of stuff on the 1st of Feb!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01pgrhj


Wahey,

Till the next one, learn something new,

Mark.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Marmalade Au Marsellaise!

Evening Strumpets,

Just noticed that this mental old blog has recently passed the 20,000 visits from places as far apart as Thirsk to Northallerton, Amazing. But really, what an amazing year.

We've managed to get regular paid gigs.  Have songs played on Local Radio and BBC Local Radio. Record a 4 track EP which we personally think is amazing.  Have the CD played at our workplaces when they didn't know we were in there. Have a CD Launch night headlining with the most amazing bands and artists in Teesside.  Have an X Factor Finalist support us at a gig in Boro (aw what the hell, it was Abi Alton about three months before she went on and frankly should have won, as well as headlined the night we played)!  Be on iTunes.  Have our kids come to a Festival we played, at which I camped with my boy Hal for the first time ever and for that reason for me was the best gig of the year.

More importantly as I was reminded by that most Grumpiest of Charmers, Carl, the other night, We've just had the most fun playing our own songs with our oldest mates and usually to our newest mates (Simon Mason, you are an obvious exception which makes the rule).

Thanks must go to:

The Charmer's Wives and Families; We have put you all through so much that you must really love us, though you always lead the dancing when you come and see us.

Steve Hoggart who was patience personified throughout the recording of the EP.

Leon Pape, Matt Speight and Daniel Cook for their relentless support, encouragement, and work in getting us to play live supporting the finest music I defy you to find anywhere in this Land.  Mint, boosh, and Nirvana to the triptych!

Angie and John Taylor for having confidence in us.

Snowy for providing the perfect template that we can give Sound engineers whenever we turn up at gigs with our proverbial banjo's in our hands.

EXNE and, particularly, James Poppleton (who is 47), Cat McGuinness, Paul Bradley and Paul Mcquade for being the Trampagne champions of the year.

And finally, Ian, Lily, Tommy, Dave, and Mary for being the reasons we are who we are.  They'll be playing the Ep up there, but Tommy will be looking in the celestial wardrobe to see if anyone is hiding in there, whilst Dave is booking the Monday night turns!

Thank you all, you lovely bunch of Strumpets, here's the last vid from the O'Connells gig which may well be one of our highlights of playing live, for this year.  As the Gentleman likes to shout at the end "ONE MORE SONG!!!!!"  if you can leave them shouting that, then you must be doing something right.



Till the next one, learn something new,

Mark.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Longlands live at O'Connells.

Afternoon Strumpets,

Here's one of our favourite live songs.  We enjoyed playing it so much we cheered louder than the crowd!



Till the next one learn something new.

Mark.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Cripple Creek Live at O' Connells.

Evening Strumpets,

So the CD's are sorted and winging their way to Uncle Andy's house as we speak, ready for our EP Launch night at Doc Browns in Middlesbrough on Nov 7th.

Here's a bit more vid from the gig the other week.  It's a regular crowd pleaser, and no mistakin'



Till the next one learn something new.

Mark.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Black Sheep Recordings EP.

Evening Strumpets,












The Charmers spent a large part of the Spring and all of the Summer recording an EP with the rather fantastic Mr Steve Hoggart Producing.  We are very proud to announce that it is now complete and ahead of the CD launch on November 7th at a venue to be confirmed we have put it on iTunes available for your good selves to purchase.  You can find it here.

Black Sheep Recordings.

Till the Next one Learn something new,

Mark.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Jamboree Live at O'Connells

Evening Strumpets,

Here's the second video from t'other night.  This is an old one, from when Me, Mark and Carl used to be in a "loud" band called The Nephrons, hence it being a bit different from the rest of our songs, but We like it so much that we simply can't resist the urge to play it, and the only cure for this is "MORE COWBELL".



Till the next one, learn something new.

Mark.