Band spends lockdown playing in Norfolk country house

Todd Sharpville and his band jam in their makeshift studio as they isolate together with their families and pets in a rented luxury estate, as lockdown caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Sheringham Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Todd Sharpville Band has been live-streaming shows over the internet

A top guitarist and his new band have aimed to play the blues away during the coronavirus pandemic after moving in together before lockdown.

Todd Sharpville, who has opened for acts such as BB King and Pink, decided to find a country house in Norfolk to hole up in when restrictions came in.

He found a group of musicians who have worked with everyone from Paul McCartney to Amy Winehouse to join him.

Sharpville said he was so busy was only getting three hours sleep a night.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Todd Sharpville and his band jammed in a garden of the country house, which dates to the early 1900s, as they isolate together with their families and pets

"We are playing one to two streamed live shows a week and a lot of private performances as well," he said.

Hundreds of people have been viewing his live streams, while some of his songs on his Facebook page have had more than 50,000 views.

He has been in talks with a number of musicians about possible collaborations, including renowned British grime artist Stormzy.

"It is pretty much work around the clock. More work than before lockdown," Sharpville said.

Image copyright Cyrilla Whyte
Image caption The house is home to seven adults, one 11-month-old child and two dogs

Sharpville, who has been a key part of the UK blues scene since the 1990s, paid for the musicians to be tested for Covid-19 before moving into the early 20th Century house near Sheringham.

"We are the only professional live band that has been locking down together in the world. And when you look at the cumulative names on everyone's CVs, band members have played with three ex-Beatles, two Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Amy Winehouse, Ed Sheeran and Adele - a lot of professional experience.

"Music is a form of therapy for [fans] and a vital necessity to hear the chemistry that comes from musicians interacting together and jamming together in the same room."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Todd Sharpville has had a number of acclaimed blues albums

Sharpville, who is the younger son of the third Viscount St Davids, said he felt the "weight of ancestors on my shoulder wanting me to do something to contribute positively to the situation".

He said he had created a partnership with a music studio in Islington in north London, providing a band for musicians.

"A lot of named acts are involved. It would be great to work with people like Stormzy, where the music is more interesting, mixing different types of music," he said.

Image copyright Cyrilla Whyte
Image caption The band has also been working on new material

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