Album themed live streams!

Dear all,

I’m delighted to say the live streams will return to my facebook page in the coming weeks! I’m doing four album themed gigs:

May
13 ‘Old Stuff’ – material from Tomorrow’s Still To Come, Walsh & Pound and The Same But Different – 7pm
17 ‘Incidents And Accidents’ – the whole album performed live – 1pm
27 ‘Verging On The Perpendicular’ – the whole album performed live – 7pm
31 ‘Trio’ – the whole album performed live – 1pm

Usual place: www.facebook.com/danwalshbanjo (you don’t need to be a facebooker to watch)
Paypal tipjar: https://www.paypal.me/danwalshbanjo

Please note the planned Youtube Live won’t happen – it turns out it’s more difficult than I thought!

Cheers,
Danjo

Next live stream: May 3rd

Dear all,

Thanks so much to everyone who ‘attended’ my gigs for Oxford Folk Weekend via Zoom and Stafford Live via Facebook. I had such a good time at both, the latter felt a lot like a virtual get together with Stafford chums while Oxford was a lovely experience as the app panned across various audience members clapping from their homes! To actually see an audience again was momentous!

A big thank you also to everyone who tuned in to UFQ TV week. We had a great time in the comments! Head over to our facebook page if you want to see what we did – a virtual gig, two live gigs, a live chat and…er…a cookery show. It was quite an experience and again very emotional too. Sadly it will be a long while I fear before we actually get to play together live again but this was a great way to plug the gap.

So what’s next – I’m live on Sunday thanks to Penrith Plug n Play who have been brilliant at carrying on their lovely gigs during lockdown. Open mic (excellent stuff) from 7 then I’ll be live at 8 for a full set. It’s in their facebook group but you don’t have to be a member or even have a facebook account – just head to https://www.facebook.com/groups/plugplay.email/

So what have I been doing? Well being a musician during lockdown is in many ways quite different from how I’d imagined. And not all in a bad way! It’s sort of pushed me to think about how I do my job in a different way. Skype teaching is the one thing that has remained unchanged and I have been extremely grateful for it! I’ve had to quickly learn how to edit video – I’m in the process of doing some split screen videos with other musicians. I’m also working on an online page of stuff you can subscribe to – I’ll keep you posted! Then I’ve been working on my new book of arrangements of Irish tunes, live streaming of course, writing music and writing arrangements for people. This latter one is something I’ve been doing since not long before lockdown and has been great fun. Someone asked me to arrange Beeswing by Richard Thompson and an old Mississippi John Hurt song…could be a lot worse!

I do of course miss seeing friends, having a pint down the pub, seeing family and of course live gigging and playing with my UFQ chums. I have good days and bad days but overall I’m just fine and I know am considerably luckier than many others. The support from you all in your messages, comments and tuning in to my ‘gigs’ has meant a lot and I am delighted to have brought some cheer with those performances.

Stay safe everyone,

Danjo x

Next live streaming gig – 19th April via Zoom

Dear all,

I have to start by saying a massive thank you to all those who tuned in to my Facebook Live gig last Wednesday. Click on the link there if you missed it! I was so touched by how many of you tuned in, commented and donated to my paypal link. It meant the world to me that it seemed to bring people together at this mad time and it was wonderful to be performing again, albeit in a very different way. Huge thanks to my wonderful girlfriend Nicol who set up the room to look nice, adjusted lights, replied to comments for me and provided me with a real life audience!

So when’s the next one then?

APRIL 19TH 6pm-8pm via ZOOM

So please note this is NOT on facebook live this time. Oxford Folk Weekend have had the splendid idea of moving their entire festival online using Zoom. The advantage of this over Facebook Live is you will be ‘in the room’ with me in that I’ll be able to see and hear you. So I can play a load of numbers and in between we can have a bit of a chat, you can ask questions etc. Should be fun!

You can get your tickets here: https://fao.yapsody.com/event/index/524606/dan-walsh?fbclid=IwAR3kKIg7Wdw_JRG-fycMlPAbRTZgju9wwsSD3_kbRctkCYORkk6kD8K7YFs

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with Zoom. Once you’ve got your ticket which is ‘pay what you feel’, you will be emailed full instructions.

There will be more gigs on the way! One of my many cancelled gigs is also going ahead with the gig but online – thanks to Penrith Plug’n’Play! That gig will be on the facebook group for that particular gig (which is public) and will once again be totally live with a paypal donations page. Then I’ll do lots of gigs from my living room for you on facebook live and youtube live until all this madness is over! Any ideas for show themes let me know – I’m thinking of doing a covers gig, genre-specific gigs, artists that have inspired me. For now though I’ve put dates in the diary for April and May…

So the ‘Home Tour’ for April/May looks something like this:

APRIL
01 Facebook Live – 7pm (THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR SUPPORT ON THIS ONE!)
www.facebook.com/danwalshbanjo
19 Zoom Live Stream presented by Oxford Folk Weekend – 6pm
https://fao.yapsody.com/event/index/524606/dan-walsh?fbclid=IwAR3kKIg7Wdw_JRG-fycMlPAbRTZgju9wwsSD3_kbRctkCYORkk6kD8K7YFs
20-25 UFQ Live Week – my band will be doing a week of live stuff on our facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/theurbanfolkquartet/

MAY
03 Facebook Live presented by Penrith Plug’n’Play – 8pm
https://www.facebook.com/groups/plugplay.email/
13 Facebook Live – 7pm (‘Old Stuff’ – material from Tomorrow’s Still To Come and Walsh and Pound)
www.facebook.com/danwalshbanjo
17 Facebook Live – 1pm (‘Incidents and Accidents’ – the whole album performed live)
www.facebook.com/danwalshbanjo
20 Youtube Live – 7pm
https://www.youtube.com/c/danwalshbanjo
27 Facebook Live – 7pm (‘Verging On The Perpendicular’ – the whole album performed live)
www.facebook.com/danwalshbanjo
31 Facebook Live – 1pm (‘Trio’ – the whole album performed live)
www.facebook.com/danwalshbanjo

Hope you’re all well. Funny old time eh?!

Cheers,
Dan

Facebook Live on Wednesday!

Dear all,

Greetings to you all at this quite exceptionally weird time! Firstly, a quick note to say that as for obvious reasons gigs are off for a while I will be doing a facebook live gig on my page at 7pm (UK time) on Wednesday. I’ll be playing for an hour, a bit of everything from my stuff with future gigs likely to be a bit more ‘themed’. Any suggestions or requests welcome! There will be a donations page as I can’t earn from regular gigging so chuck in what you feel 🙂

The enormity of being housebound for so long has probably not really hit me yet. After all, between touring I’ve quite often spent a week or two at home working away on material, teaching, sorting out admin etc. But usually there’s trips out to play at care homes, down the pub for a couple of jars and further down the line GIGS! It’s certainly strange but I’m trying to make the best of it. I’m working on my next book and figuring out one or two potential roads to go down in making money online.

Stay safe folks and I’d love to see you (virtually) on Wednesday night

Danjo

Upcoming live stream gigs

Greetings from this newly home-based worker! I hope you’re all looking after yourself. Needless to say, the likelihood of any live gigs in the next few months is looking very slim indeed. I’m flattered to have got some lovely messages asking me to do some live streaming gigs – I do intend to do this in the coming weeks with a donations/tip jar page. I remember when I was a young kid in town with my mum, we saw a busker and I told my Mum that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never imagined it would be quite like this…

Like many, I’ve enjoyed watching living room streaming gigs during this time and as a serial performance tart I am itching to get back at gigging, whatever form it may take! To be absolutely honest with you all, to lose my May tour is devastating. I was so looking forward to it as it has been a few years since I’ve done a UK solo tour and I’m not going to lie, it was a big part of my financial plans too and that brings a lot of stress too. Forgive the melodrama here, but I’ve needed time to process it and maybe even mourn the loss of it. But it’s time to move on! So I will see you in the coming weeks for some live gigs from my house to yours. Thanks so much to everyone for lovely messages and especially to my brilliant banjo students who it is a pleasure to teach (and shout out to Ian for suggesting skype lessons eight years ago – bloody good job you did!!).

Touring/Corona update

TOURING UPDATE:
Trying to keep calm and drink tea! In light of the world situation I thought it worth updating on my touring situation as I have, on paper, a very busy touring period right through April, May and June particularly and beyond. Of course this has been thrown in to doubt but to be honest at the moment, there is no major news. Just a note this is all about my solo work. UFQ will be posting about things in due course (but thanks Guildford for a great gig last night!)

UK tour: As yet none of my public gigs have been cancelled so my April/May/June tour of the UK is, for now, not totally thrown out. All I can really do is monitor the situation like everyone else and make decisions as things change – of course it’s entirely possible that some or all of the gigs are postponed but there’s no real need to make decisions on this yet as it’s mid-March and the vast majority of my solo gigs are in May/June. It will be decided on a case by case basis as it comes up. Much of the tour is in folk clubs and similar venues which means crowds not in the hundreds and quite a few purely on door sales so it leaves a bit of wiggle room.

Canada tours: This I am dreading having to make a decision about. I’m scheduled for a June tour of eastern Canada and an August tour of Alberta, both trips including a big festival appearance. Again, I’m holding off making a firm decision over this until I have to.

So no real news I guess…but I just wanted to check in with everyone. It’s been a whirlwind week where it’s become clear just how serious this all is and how much it will affect the self employed and everyone else.

Not going to lie, it’s scary. A lot is tied up in my upcoming tours for my living and my future and to realise it could all be gone is bloody scary. Tours and festivals are by far my biggest earner. Another income stream is care homes which of course quite rightly has also been cut off. The one saving grace is much of my teaching is on skype so I can at least carry on with that (and perhaps look for more!). I am also looking into the possibility of online gigging during the crisis.

This is all rather a selfish stream of consciousness folks. I know there will be people worse affected than me and people to whom the actual health aspect of this is far scarier. The virus wouldn’t harm me too much I don’t think but I know that’s not true for many. Solidarity with you all – stay in touch. Keep calm and drink tea.

Thank You Western Australia

Dear all,

I write to you from Perth Airport after a lovely few weeks in sunny (rather too sunny on certain days…) Western Australia. It was my second trip to the region after a successful visit two years ago and once again I loved it! It’s quite a unique place for me to tour because unlike most of my foreign tours which involve travelling from one city to another each night, the bulk of my gigs on the tour were in or around Perth. This meant I could actually really settle into a place for a few weeks and feel like I rather belonged there which I’ve rarely experienced elsewhere – perhaps Wellington in New Zealand was a little bit similar. My dear old friends Kira and Austin kindly housed me for the bulk of the trip which was delightful and as with last time Kira performed at Hills Folk Club (she is a fine singer/pianist who I went to university with) and we did a song together as well as her sister Jane.

In addition to the gigs, I was delighted to attend a couple of Irish folk sessions on my nights off which took me right back to my university days of going to tune sessions with some serious quality players. Special shout out to Derrick, Dympna and Phil. It was so so good to play jigs and reels all night again! It’s rather inspired me to dig out some more of those glorious trad tunes and concoct a few good clawhammer banjo arrangements. Might even do another book…

The gigs were a joy. I particularly appreciated the last gig in Woodlands being attended by Australian banjo legend Ian Simpson who I managed to catch up with over tea today! He’s a serious player and it was great to chew the fat about all things banjo. He even came to my workshop at Zenith Music during my tour as well. Not intimidating at all…Check out this classic clip of him in the awesome Sensitive New Age Cowpersons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep-ZTaREZyo

But…it’s always good to get home too. I’m looking forward to being reunited with my lovely lady and my friends and family. Lots of gigs to come with UFQ on tour in the spring and then in solo action throughout the UK (for the first time in three years) through May and June and two trips to Canada! Oh and the release of the live album…More to come.

Pat, the star of my gig!

Dear all,

It’s been a good year for music thus far although, as usual, I’m not gigging (in a public sense) too much in January. There was one notable exception which was my live album recording in Stafford at the lovely Floodgate Ale House. It was a wonderful night (thank god) and producer Mark was impressed so I know I must have done ok (he’s not a man easily pleased…). Thanks to all those who came out, especially those who came quite a distance.

Other than that it’s been more of the teaching side of things with lots of lessons and my work in care homes which I love so much. As many of you know, alongside my touring and recording and whatnot I play a lot in nursing homes for those living with dementia. Yesterday was one of my favourite gigs ever. I played Fly Me To The Moon and I was playing the instrumental break between verses when a guy called Pat suddenly joined in and let loose with the words. He had an absolute monster of a voice which was in mighty fine fettle so I just strummed and he sang and the whole room of staff and residents broke into ecstatic applause with mouths wide open in astonishment. The sheer power and beauty in his voice was absolutely amazing. Happily, he wasn’t finished! A few more songs got the Pat treatment before the end and it was just magical. That is a gig I will absolutely not forget.

In addition to this, I did some training earlier this week in playing music on intensive care units for both newborn children and adults. It was a fascinating thing to look at the effect of music in yet another sphere, I can’t wait to give it a go myself!

So next up, Australia. They’ve been having a hard time of course with the fires although I’m on the opposite side of the country from the main danger zone. I sent an email to my old banjo student who lives in the ‘danger zone’ and he said that while it was extremely scary, it was heartening to see everyone pulling together. One of my newest songs, ‘Still A Town’ is about the community spirit evident in Stafford as the town centre continues to decline alarmingly. The strongest example is the iconic greengrocer with its beautiful thatched roof rather than standing empty is now a ‘social supermarket’. Stick with each other everybody.

Live album and tours!

Dear all,

I have some exciting news to share with you. My new album will be a live one! For the first time I’ll be releasing a live album which is to be recorded in January in my old hometown of Stafford. I’m really excited to capture the energy of the gigs, live solo versions of songs I’ve recorded down the years, some live favourites not previously recorded and a few new numbers too. The album will be available on my solo tour in April/May/June in the UK and Canada. Exciting!

Two foreign tours to tell you about then. It’s back to Australia in February as I head to WA for a couple of weeks after a successful visit back in 2018. Then in June I am super excited I’ll be back to Canada for my fourth tour of the east coast! It’s a beautiful part of the world full of wonderful people and I feel privileged indeed to be part of Prince Edward Island for a few days at the Festival of Small Halls.

As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, I’ve also been in the studio recording with UFQ. My parts are pretty much down now and the album is going to sound amazing! It is of great benefit to have a recording engineer and producer in the band so good old Joe has been hard at it and he has a lot more work to do still. Then again, listening to banjo all day can’t be all bad can it?

See you down the road!

Danjo

More than just gigging

Dear all,

I got up at rather an ungodly hour to head down to London for an event related to a marvellous organisation called the Amber Music Trust with whom I’ve been working for a year or so. After my recent holiday (yes that’s holiday!) in Wales I’ve not gigged in the fullest sense of the word but I’ve been keeping up with two other key parts of my work – teaching and what I guess is called outreach.

Outreach music work has been an amazing part of my life. It started way back in my university days really so about twelve years ago. I was invited by my old pal James in Stafford to come and do a day of workshops at the school he worked at for children with learning difficulties. I was utterly new to this work and quite daunted but I had a cracking day and the impact on the kids was something that stuck with me. Happily, I’ve continued to visit that same school quite often to this day. Shortly afterwards I joined Live Music Now working with Will Pound, Nic Zuppardi and on my own together with a few collaborations. That charity comprehensively changed my life. I’ve blogged about it elsewhere (https://www.danwalshbanjo.co.uk/live-music-now-the-charity-that-changed-my-life/) so I won’t go into it too much here but essentially it involved playing in all manner of settings such as special needs schools, care homes, mental health wards, homeless shelters and hospitals. It was an amazing time and after my time on the scheme ended a couple of years ago, I was determined to stay in the sector alongside my gigging and teaching.

Happily I’ve been able to do that. Nic and I signed up with Music in Hospitals which works on a similar basis. It was with this scheme that Nic and I had a cracking day in Norfolk and Suffolk on Tuesday seeing music make a firm difference once again. In the morning we were in a centre for adults with mental health and learning difficulties and after an initial shyness there was dancing, singing and a request fest (which frankly put me on my toes rather a lot) and a sense that music had transformed the day. Then we were off to a dementia care home where as usual music worked a unique kind of magic. It is amazing to see people sing who barely talk any more. To see people dance who barely walk. To see people smile who do so all too rarely. The room was full of joy and it was a wonderful afternoon.

Playing for people with dementia has become more and more of a driving passion and this was something I was determined to keep up post-Live Music Now. It astonishes me the impact it can have and music works in a way you would think was impossible. Time and again, staff at care homes are amazed by the reactions of residents to music. It often triggers so many memories and reunites people with their personalities. I’ve been playing a lot of them lately and happily I have a few I’m visiting regularly. 

I’ve also become involved with Make Some Noise, a brilliant charity based in my old hometown of Stafford which brings music to children, often of troubled backgrounds, in the form of hands on workshops and projects. I’ve had a great time working with other musicians in various projects and last night I was in Lichfield as part of a weekly music club for kids, again many of whom have a hard time in life. We worked on a couple of cover songs with them and it was almost tangible the happiness and sense of achievement this brought. I was only covering here so I’m not a regular part of the project but it was palpable just how important these sessions have been and are to the children.

And finally, I’m also working with the Amber Music Trust whose musicians work one to one with a blind child and their family. The first child I was assigned to sadly suffers many health issues and sessions were frequently cancelled so I only got to work with her once but again music clearly brought joy. The child was very profoundly disabled but music brought a very cheerful smile indeed…then along came my next assignment. This was the main thing I wanted to blog about. It is very difficult to put into words how truly extraordinary the child I am now working with is. He is blind and has severe autism as well as a life limiting illness. Music is his life! He has a keyboard and has an amazing ability to hear a melody and then play it. He has ‘Echo’, one of those speakers you talk to and it plays you stuff…he utilises it rather a lot! He hears songs and if he likes them, he’ll play them! His repertoire is extremely eclectic – Ed Sheeran, Milo, the Animals, Stoke City football chants, fart noises…The way his mind works is fascinating. ‘Call and response’ isn’t particularly his thing. It’s not simply a case of play him something and he’ll play it back. He hears it and when he wants to play it, he will and often it’s a session or so later than when I’ve tried introducing him to it. He takes musical information in all the time when it’s not obvious that’s what he’s doing. He’s started playing chords and multiple octaves now as well as some mighty rhythm playing on my bodhran. Handily for me, he also loves the banjo! Our duetting is really forging ahead now whereas to begin with he tended to just play short melodies he knew. He sings too and playing music with him is a joy for me and much more importantly it seems to be for him too. He’s a very cheerful soul and roars with laughter at some of the slide effects I do on the banjo. His wonderful parents are keen to get him a banjo. I’d better watch out! Working with him is extraordinary and has been a remarkable experience for me.

It is wonderful to continue the outreach side of things alongside my gigging and teaching. I love performing and I like to think I reach people through that too but in many ways it’s for me. It’s my release and my story. What an honour it is to help others express theirs. Ain’t music wonderful?