Foster Factor: May 2006
By BBC Radio Suffolk's Stephen Foster
This month we look at the Tuscan Raiders' debut album, the Buena Vista Social Club's visit to Suffolk and two concerts in places of worship in Sudbury and Bury St.Edmunds.
In 2004 a new band emerged on the Ipswich music scene who were determined to get their name known. Tuscan Raiders have just released their eagerly awaited debut album and it more than lives up to expectations. "They Can't Take What You Haven't Got" is a strong collection of originals played on electric and acoustic guitars and enhanced with some strong harmony vocals not always associated with bands of their ilk.
Tuscan Raiders' Alan Bloomfield
It's those harmonies which set Tuscan Raiders apart from many of the other hard-edged pop bands doing the rounds both nationally and locally. I've often said that the strength of the songs must shine through and Tuscan Raiders have plenty of those in their repertoire. The singles "El Bastardos", "Find A Way Through" and "Same Same" all take pride of place alongside the live favourite "Shop Corn" and one or two quieter tracks illustrating a more reflective side of their nature.
Paul Haley, Scott Wheatley, Alan Bloomfield, Dirk Forsdyke and Martin Hynes can be well pleased with their first long player. It shows just how far the band have come in a relatively short space of time. I caught the band at The Milestone in Ipswich recently. That's where they launched the album and they were clearly on top of their game in front of a packed house. I'd be very surprised if the Tuscan Raiders album doesn't make it into my Top 5 of the year. The band are about to play a series of gigs with The Debs Warren Band whose new album "Electrify" I'll be reviewing next month.
Buena Vista Social Club
Ipswich had never seen or heard anything quite like it before. The sight and sound of the cream of the Cuban music scene on stage at The Regent was something that will live long in the memory. It's ten years since American guitarist Ry Cooder supervised the historical recording session that spawned the Grammy-winning album and the successful film. Sadly some of the key figures who made up the original BVSC are no longer with us, but founder members Cachaito Lopez and Guajiro Mirabal are and they joined nine other musicians to treat us to an hour and a half of the gamut of Cuban music leaving very few stones unturned.
Make no mistake it was just about as good as it gets. The biggest cheer of the night went to Roberto Fonesca whose piano playing was phenomenal. Some people I spoke to afterwards thought the show was a little on the short side but nobody was disappointed by the music.
The quality of sound was crystal clear throughout which made a nonsense of recent criticisms of the theatre's poor acoustics. I would imagine salsa clubs from around the region were out in force but it took quite a while for some of the more energetic concert-goers to get on their feet. One of the downsides of an all-seater venue is that there's not much room for dancing. The night was also a triumph for the promoters Peppery Productions.
Richard is without any shadow of a doubt one of the finest guitarists on the planet. Sussex-based Richard is back in Suffolk this month to bring his critically acclaimed one-man show to St. Peter's church in Sudbury on Saturday 6th May. His last appearance in the county saw him share the stage at The New Wolsey in Ipswich with legendary bass guitarist Herbie Flowers. Richard combines his great passion for music with a wry, deadpan humour. He'll be using classical, steel string, 12-string and electric guitars as well as the tenor banjo, mandolin, ukulele and bodhran. He'll be playing works by Bach, Barrios, Lauro, Limbrick, Pink Floyd and George Harrison as well as some of his own pieces. St. Peter's is a beautiful 15th Century church and its natural acoustics will lend themselves perfectly to a musician for whom I have the utmost respect. Any man who can take the place of John Williams in Sky has got to be worth catching. Tickets, at £7-50, can be purchased from Compact Music, 89 North Street, Sudbury.
Bury St. Edmunds singer/songwriter Emma is someone else with several strings to her bow. Emma's main instrument is piano and she's just completed work on a new album "Never Mind The Rain". Emma recently signed a worldwide distribution deal with Shockwave in the USA and has been working with top producer Phil Harding at West Suffolk College. She's teaming up with Jeffrey Dench, who's the brother of Dame Judi, for a show called "Wow! Pop Goes Shakespeare!". It's part of the Bury Fringe Festival and is being held in the wonderful setting of the town's cathedral on Saturday 13th May. Jeffrey has known Emma since she was a small child and proceeds will go to local good causes. Tickets can be bought from the cathedral box office (01284 748721).
That's all from me for another edition. Next month, as well as reviewing the latest DWB album I'll be previewing American bluesman Sherman Robertson's Ipswich debut which sees him at The Manor Ballroom on Friday 23rd June. Opening for Sherman will be former guitarist with The Hoax - Jon Amor. That gig is a mouth watering prospect for the region's blues fans!
last updated: 16/07/2008 at 11:25