Busking – a musician’s life for me

Max was given his first guitar at the age of nine, cost six guineas from the Bell Musical Catalogue. The first song he learnt to play was “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles. After playing in various local bands, in 1980 he moved to London to join street theatre group the Demolition Decorators, touring France and Holland with them. Whilst in London he also played in a number of musical/theatre projects at the Albany Empire, Tricycle Theatre Kilburn and others, and in London he also tried his hand at busking for the first time.Tiring of London, or possibly London tiring of him, he returned home to Oxford and has been there ever since

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I recently had the good fortune to meet my old friend Johnny Hinkes who was busking on the streets of Oxford. We had worked on a session together many years ago and I was impressed by his ability to get into the meaning of the music we were playing as well as his reading and improvisational ability.
So why busk?
We had an interesting conversation about busking, playing for love or money,accompanying classical music,  Richard Rodney Bennett and “Stealing Bob Dylan from Woodstock: When the World Came to the Isle of Wight” by Ray Foulk, amongst other subjects.

Here are some more clips of Johnny playing



Here is a link to his CD Baby page
and a link to his webpage

A bit more about busking in Oxford

Statement on busking in Oxford city centre

Oxford City Council encourages busking in the city centre. It adds a great deal to the vibrant and exciting city centre experience that we all know and love. For the last decade, the City Council has had a Code of Practice that buskers are asked to agree to observe when they obtain a busking permit from the Council. The Code includes:

Not busking for more than 60 minutes in one place

Not obstructing the highway

Using amplification responsibly and maintaining a reasonable volume.

The aim of the Code has always been to create a level playing field for all buskers and to stop any nuisance to everyone else who uses the city centre – traders, local residents and visitors. We currently have no legal power to enforce this Code of Practice and have received complaints from traders, in particular, about buskers playing loudly and for long periods of time outside their shops, which is not fair to them.

The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) has been proposed in order to provide a legal power to take action against busking which leads to complaints from the public. In all cases, buskers will be asked to conform to the Code before any enforcement measures are used. 

The PSPO will allow the Police or designated Council officers to issue a £100 fine or, in the most extreme of cases, to take the person to court, which could result in a maximum fine of £1,000.

But the Order will also remove the current requirement to obtain a permit before busking. After the PSPO has been introduced, people wishing to busk will be able to do so without contacting us in any way. All they will need to do is adhere to the existing Code of Practice.

The measures proposed will therefore have no impact on the vast majority of buskers and will in fact make it easier for musicians to busk in Oxford city centre. We think the measures will help to improve the liveliness of the city centre.

Released on Wednesday 20 May 2015

Oxford City Council Leader Bob Price said: “Point three of the Code of Practice – to smile, enjoy yourself and entertain others – is there to encourage people to regard busking as fun, rather than just as a way to make money. “It is not an element of the Code that would be the subject of enforcement action.”

Quote added on Thursday 21 May
More links!

 Solo          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgD_fLYjeU8

 Solo           http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK6JM48NddQ&feature=related

Solo            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6K_xpGehGOA&feature=related

Solo            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvkEQPvz3PM&feature=related

Solo             https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFHFyX0qnmg

  Max and Lewis                                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g71H2HPMwwc

  With SweetnSour Swing                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7LiPudxFV4

With SweetnSour Swing                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeiZnr8si2Q

With Sweetnsour Swing              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRMAj7_EYDk

Interview with Nejc Kuhar

Nejc 1 Nejc 2 All Souls University Registry GG and Nejcs

Last month, Nejc Kuhar (that’s pronounced Nates Kuhar) visited me in Oxford.
I first met this genial Slovenian composer and guitarist at the Iserlohn Festival and was impressed by his playing and general quiet but friendly manner.

He has been composing up a storm since I last met him, and I too the opportunity to quiz him over a pint in the famous Kings Arms pub in central Oxford. He is very tall and had to stoop to get in the snug at the back. We talked about the reason for his visit to the UK, his attitude to composition and his studies with Alvaro Pierri.

Here are some videos of Nejc playing and composing


Composing in real time


Quasar


Black Hole


Hommage a Erik Satie

Oxford Guitar Society

The OGS is going great guns at the moment – Haydn Bateman and Jack Hancher, both at the Royal College of Music in London and ex alumni of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble will be playing on Sunday 8th Feb in Sandford Village Hall, near Oxford.
Daniel Stachowiak has already played twice for them, and they have put on concerts in Oxford for Cheryl Grice, Ray Burley and John Mills, amongst others.

Here is a gallery of some performances.

The society owes its renaissance to the work of a dedicated committee and the time given by :

Patron
Raymond Burley – raymond@raymondburley.com

Secretary

Stephen Greenslade – secretary@oxfordguitarsociety.org.uk

Treasurer

Adrian Williams – treasurer@oxfordguitarsociety.org.uk

Website

Lester Backshall – webmaster@oxfordguitarsociety.org.uk

If you are in the area, please do come along!

 

Craig Ogden and Xue Fei Yang in the Oxford Sheldonian Theatre – fun interview

Happy New Year everyone

Outside the Sheldonian

I have known both Craig and Fei for a very long time (I met Craig in his native Perth when he was 14 years old and Fei in Hong Kong on a visit from Beijing when she was 13!) and it was a delight to listen to both of them on top form playing duets and solos in Oxford’s beautiful Sheldonian theatre last November.

Here is the programme

Solos and duets by PiazzollaDe Falla,
Barrios, Pernambuco, Nigel Westlake & Giuliani

Australian born guitarist Craig Ogden returns to the Sheldonian with his effortlessly brilliant, laid-back performance style. His recordings of both classic and contemporary guitar repertoire have received wide acclaim.

Since Xuefei Yang last played for Music at Oxford (in a Chapel Series concert in 2010), she has shot to stardom, and is now acknowledged to be one of the foremost guitarists of her generation, developing new repertoire for the instrument through ingenious arrangement and commissioning.

A rare opportunity to see these two exceptional guitarists join forces. This concert will take us on a musical journey from the classical guitar’s beginnings in Spain to Brazil, Argentina and Australia.

 

The Westlake was new to me – very listenable and effervescent writing. The Piazzolla and Falla were dispatched with virtuosity and a sense of ensemble which rivalled that of more experienced, regular duos.
The solos were also brilliantly played, highlights for me being Fei’s transcription of a traditional Chinese tune – Fishing boats under the moon – and her rendition of a piece by Paco de Lucia.

Craig and Fei

FGS

JFCAHBBH!? Another acronym?

More guitarists playing together – in this case, 50 of them, from different guitar societies across the UK. The Federation of Guitar Societies

I had the privilege of meeting these dedicated souls,

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