Corey Mwamba


Tired, but excited

I don't know what's wrong with me, I haven't been sleeping much lately. Still, I'm packing a lot in... I've been busy with DCDAN; being on the arts development side of things is a real change. Dealing with the expectations and assumptions of people [from all quarters!] is a long-haul project, but it's going well and it looks like we'll be able to help artists in different ways in the future. All good.

But what about me? Well, Oxford finished: and we got some really good pieces of twelve-tone sequence music from the maths sets, really pleased with the results. It took some time for the project to get to the right balance in terms of integrating the music and the maths, but we got there and I think from a learning side the Year Fives [that's third year primary in old money] did a LOT of work!

The main reason why I'm tired at the moment is that I'm unfit. I did a gig with Arun on Saturday in Manchester: a loud, crazy gig with an amazing percussionist called Aishá Lourenço that people really need to hear about. It was loud because, y'know, Matt & Phred's is... er... loud; so it's a real physical strain playing at that dynamic, especially for solos. But the crowd is so good there. You don't need to imagine a place in England where lots of people just turn up to a place and willingly listen to jazz, because it already exists, and it's in Manchester. I can only hope I'm there again... but maybe acoustic?

Anyway, back to bed for half-past three on Sunday. Up for seven. Out and on to the train -

Hold on, sir! Hold on! Where are you going with that?

On here. Why?

You can't take that on there. It's too big!

Look, I've done this before... [Corey enters a long description of the vibraphone folding procedure]

Well, if it's too big, you'll have to get off the train...

Well, your next stop's Birmingham. Just throw me off there.

- to Birmingham and an extremely expensive taxi to the Drum. Now, according to my records [I have extensive records. Oh yes] I've not played a gig of my own at the Drum for a good four or five years. And I used to pop down to go play with Sir Andy Hamilton and the Blue Notes, they were on every week and the place was rammed. Not so now. Now they're on once a month [erratically, I might add] and bearing in mind the near legendary status of the group, the place was empty. A discussion of organisational/promotional skills in arts centres, anyone? Anyway, I went to listen, got chatting to a couple from Derby [Brian, Sheila, hello! And thanks for the lift back home!] and then was brought up to play. They were sounding glorious, Hamilton majestic.

That filled a good hour or so. Then I caught up with Andy Maclean and John Morris from the Symbiosis Ensemble—not seen the guys for a long time, and it was good to catch up again. Afterwards, The Mitchell and I went and rehearsed for about three hours, had a piece of chicken, went back, asked for MORE chicken, and did the gig, which we rocked. Soweto joined us for a fair few numbers, and bearing in mind it was only the second time in twelve years that we'd been on stage together, I'd say we didn't do too badly. The jam session at the end was a blast, and showed the committment Soweto has to fostering local Birmingham talent. A good night.

But definitely a night where I needed my cocoa/wine by half-ten.

Should I join a gym? Are they nice?

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