28 June 2010

New Live Music Listings Website

Well, after less than a fortnight floating around in cyberspace, this little website is doing rather nicely, thankyou. We're getting up to 80 hits a day, and our nifty 'statcounter' tells us that some of these are coming via the numerous websites who've kindly added links (they're listed down there on the left-hand side); some from Facebook (if you're on Facebook, please don't forget to 'like' us!); and quite a surprising number from people Googling the words 'Music' and 'Mersea' together.

The discovery that so many people are searching for 'music on Mersea' has inspired me to set up a completely separate listings site for ALL live music happening on and around the island. Simply because there is no other single, reliable, up-to-date, online source of information for anyone wanting to know what's on.

Of course, a large sector of the island's population still gleans information in the time-honoured fashion - by looking in the Post Office window, on community notice boards and in the local press. But this can be rather a haphazard method, and if events aren't advertised further afield than the corner shop, then their potential audience is severely curtailed.

A recent concert at the MICA Centre by three world-class guitarists (for which I had myself eagerly bought tickets) was cancelled through - I'm reliably informed - 'lack of interest'.  Well, I'm not convinced it's interest that's lacking round here, but awareness. Mersea is bursting not only with musicians but also with lovers of every kind of live music.

Here's the the new site - Mersea Island Live Music

Please contact me with details of anything which ought to be listed but isn't. And please spread the word.

26 June 2010

MIYPs - "The Junction"

A quick plug for a group of Mersea's talented youngsters, ably led by some of our regular Session musicians. Mersea Island Youth Players (MIYPs) are putting on a show called 'The Junction' at the MICA centre on Friday 2 July and Saturday 3 July.

Doors open 7 pm, curtain up at 7.30. If you visited the Mersea Food & Drink Festival in May, you will have had a preview of some of the treats in store.

25 June 2010

Thursday 24.6.10 (II)

Some lovely black & white photos of last night's session just in from Chrissie. Here are two. The full set is on the Gallery Page.

Thursday 24.6.10 (I)

News update: my elder daughter (who refuses to play at the Session herself despite being an extremely competent musician) twisted my arm behind my back yesterday and forced me to set up a Mersea Session page on Facebook (see link on the left). This will, I'm told, allow millions of people to 'like' the Session. And indeed, 25 already do like it (although only one of them, to the best of my knowledge, has ever been to the Coast Inn, but that's the wonders of social networking for you). Thank you, Facebook friends - it is lovely to be liked by so many. Please tell all your friends to like the Mersea Session too, and don't forget to come along and join in or listen next time you are free of a Thursday evening.

The View from the Session (TVFTS) 24.6.10

17 June 2010

Other local sessions

Sessions have markedly different characters, some are tune, some are song, some are both and some are different. It is the lifeblood of the aural tradition that songs and tunes are performed and copied, adapted and just plain changed, and the more occasions and locations that celebrate live acoustic music, the better for the music, and those who love making and hearing it.

So, I thought I'd have a stab at listing some other sessions.

Sadly, the Essex Folk Newssession listing hasn't been updated for over a year, so here's a current snapshot of sessions in mid-Essex, at least those that I am aware of. As Esther used to say, 'unless you know different', so please post any I have missed on this site. Sessions can die quite quickly, some endure quietly, and some run and run.

Firstly, I list the sessions organised by fellow Tollesbrarian, Fred Field. Fred is unmistakable, sporting a leather stetson, a real ale pewter tankard and big hair, so if you see him, buy him a pint.

First Friday of the month: Station Arms Southminster
Second Friday: Viper Mill Green, nr Ingatestone
Third Friday: Wheatsheaf, Writtle
Fourth Friday: King's Head, Tollesbury
Fifth Friday (if there is one): Queen's Head, Coggeshall (A120)
Last Sunday: Queen's Head, Burnham
Every Tuesday: United Brethren, New Writtle Street, Chelmsford

Coast Inn regular, Roy Nicholls, runs his own splendid sessions at:

1st Sunday, Blue Boar, Maldon

Other local sessions include:

2nd Sunday (at 5pm): Woolpack, Mildmay Road, Chelmsford (Irish tunes)
3rd Thursday: Ye Olde Swan, High Street, Brightlingsea
3rd Thursday: Rose and Crown, Great Waltham
3rd Thursday: s/b 'Gladys', Benfleet Creek

9 June 2010

Mersea Food, Drink & Leisure Festival 2010

The second annual Food, Drink and Leisure Festival was held at Mersea Island Vineyard on 29/30 May. This year it offered a showcase for an even more extensive range of our fabulous local food and drink, as well as displays featuring Mersea’s coastal heritage and wildlife, and stalls promoting local charities and organisations.

A two-day programme of music and dance included displays by Mersea Dance and Mersea Island Young Players, sea shanties from Mersea Island Players, belly dancing with Alimah Dance, and music from John Leyland and the Lantern Band, Cross Stitch and Blackwaterside. Following a knock-out performance with the Chrissie Lee Trio at the Peldon May Festival the previous evening, Helen Abbey came along to sing on the Saturday, accompanied by Ian Jewitt, but but they were unfortunately defeated in the end by the increasingly torrential rain and howling wind. Mercifully, the weather improved considerably in time for Sunday’s events, and the crowds turned out to enjoy the Festival to the full on a beautifully sunny afternoon.

There are some nice pictures of musicians taken over the weekend by Chrissie Gamble on the Gallery page, along with some frankly atrocious snaps captured from the video clips I took which turned out to be too long and too poor in quality to disseminate to a wider audience either here, on YouTube, or anywhere else.

Beer at the Coast Inn II

From the Mighty Oak Brewery in nearby Maldon.

2007 Golden Ale of the Year: "Maldon Gold from Mighty Oak brewery in Essex.Golden ale with a floral aroma and hints of lemon peel. Earthier hop tones are off-set by sweet vanilla in the taste." (CAMRA)

"Brewed using only Maris Otter pale malt for a light golden ale with biscuity malt flavour. Mount Hood and First Gold hops give a disctinctive citrus character along with a long dry bitter finish." (RateBeer website)

Beer at the Coast Inn I

Yo Boy - brewed on the island at the Mersea Island Brewery , beer doesn't get more 'local' than this!

"A session bitter with great tastes of Maris Otter and Crystal malt combined with Fuggles, Challenger, Phoenix & Cascade hops giving a long lasting bitterness on the finish."