The organ-grinder

Bio

During <a target='_blank' href='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iiVM_OFGh0'>a video shoot</a> in Barcelona.

During a video shoot in Barcelona. Image: Eva Muñoz.

Details:

Languages

Born

… amidst vexillophiles crying in the wilderness known as Belfast.

Mechanical organs

A Fisher-Price gramophone. Apocalyptic experiments on the village organ during one’s Tierkreis period. Meetings with street organs while playing in the Netherlands and Germany. Wrote arrangements for a Belgian organ manufacturer to be included with new sales. Bespoke arrangements, including unbelievably authentic Germanic numbers for a Swiss aficionado.

Folkie/non-Western

Interviewed by Libby Purves on MidWeek (BBC) about the life of a busking recorder player. Played shō in the first English gagaku orchestra. Wrote a thesis about Maoism, spirit mediums, and the adaptation for guitar bands of mbira dza vadzimu music by Thomas Mapfumo et al. As farmers’ band director, won a Dutch national championship & represented the Netherlands at a Swedish folk festival, dressed, obviously, in lederhosen. Trained a village merengue band in the Caribbean.

Image: Swedish hay lady.

Classical-ish

The best possible start, with Evan Watkin (“Learn it by heart so you can make eyes at the girls in the front row”; at 02:02 with the Beatles, playing from music). Mega-moment as child soloist in Bozza, “Hommage à Bach,” in the Großer Musikvereinssaal on ORF in Vienna. Solo trombone with Darwen and Luton town bands. Played for the British Queen Mum’s family in their palace at St Paul’s Walden Bury.

Swing/trad jazz

Interminably active as trombonist/singer/glutton on the function circuit across the North European Plain. Support band for BB King. Curious episode with Chick Corea & the Scientologists.

Pop/rock

Juvenile Latinisms in Manchester with Fuze. Ska and heavy in The Hague with Sans Rancune (trombone solo).

Theatre

Original music for productions of Čapek’s Rossum’s Universal Robots (Winchester) and Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida (Manchester). Original texts/music/direction for entertainments/shows featuring vocal curiosity shops like Chop Suey.

Image: Bert Kuipers.

Variety

Burlesque bar pianist and cake fairy. Circus gigs. Musician in a rather bawdy house around the corner from the house of one’s much loved Spinoza.

Teacher-creecher

Taught non-Western musics at the Guildhall. Ditto general music from Montessori to A-level at a progressive school, whence a very moving testimonial from this gentleman:

Set up music department (and library) for international 6th form in a convent with 150 elderly nuns next to an unregulated pig farm:

Taught songwriting to Dutch teenagers with learning peculiarities (“Oranje, Oranje, Oranje,/Ze komen helemaal niet uit Spanje”).

Man shall not live by bellows alone

  • Slaved for Warner/Chappell in a Mayfair meat cellar, insulted by star artist, Rolf Harris.
  • Explained the USA to Amoco & Deutsche Bank (retail)(North Rhine-Westphalia).
  • Explained Indonesia and interactivity to Stork Ketels, Hengelo, a Dutch industrial and utility boiler manufacturer.

  • Infiltrated extraterrestrials and pirate cider producers into a Dutch supply chain/factory scheduling software startup, Fygir, The Hague/Philadelphia, apparently legendary sales conference at Kodak, Rochester, NY.
  • Played football and pool at Queens’, Cambridge, for Synomics, a bioinformatics startup.
  • Devised siren songs for Dresdner Private Banking/Kleinwort Benson (London).

  • Set up, ran, and sold a travel franchise (Western Med).

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