This Saturday 26th April, I’m delighted to be performing with Ansa Back at Malborough Music Monster Mash to raise money for the Dave Sharp Young Musicians Fund. The fund does some brilliant work locally to ensure that teens from all backgrounds have a chance to enjoy learning and playing music and now that the project is a few years old it’s great to see some of the bands that have emerged and developed from it.
The Dartmouth Chronicle printed news about our performance at Dartmouth Football Club at 8:45pm tonight (Saturday 19th October)!
The article reads:
Rock on South Hams Newspapers.
The eight strong combo Ansa Back which boasts one South Hams newspaper reporter, a photographer and a production wizard, will be in concert at Dartmouth football club tomorrow.
The band, which has a repertoire spanning more than 20 years of rock classics, included reporter Amy McSweeny on vocals, photographer Greg Taylor on lead guitar and production expert Bryan Roberts on rhythm guitar.
With them will be the rest of the line up – father and daughter team Joe Sterry on sax and Hannah Sterry on flute and backing vocals and Paul Adams, also on sax, Clare Hannaford on drums and Wayne Neil on bass guitar.
The music kicks off at 8.45pm.
Lead singer, Amy McSweeny said: ‘It is our first gig in Dartmouth and we’re really excited to be performing there. Our music covers pretty much everything and hopefully we shall get people up and dancing and having a good time.’
I am now “Plymouth’s top jazz flautist” according to twitter. I know this because I am probably the only jazz flautist in the whole of South Devon (with the exception of my dad, who often prefers to play saxophone).
This post is a bit of everything – music I’ve recorded, pictures from the past year’s worth of gigs and news of gigs to come and some lovely testimonials from people I’ve played for – I hope you’ll enjoy it and feel free to ask me anything you like in the comments!
Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to play lots of gigs with a great little gypsy swing band called Hamer & Isaacs. I met them, by chance, at a blues night at a pub where a mutual friend had invited us both along. I thought they were pretty cool and took a particular liking to one of them (that’s a different story) and since then I’ve stood in whenever one of the others can’t make it!
After playing with the band a fair bit, a few of them spotted my Sterry Cartoons creations on facebook and asked whether I’d like to design them an ‘art deco’ logo. I thought it’d be good fun to have a go (having not attempted logo design before) and this is what I came up with (see right).
All of this led to some really wonderful testimonials from people I’ve met through the band:
“As a professional musician for nearly four decades, I have been very impressed by Hannah Sterry’s contribution to our gypsy swing band as a deputy flautist over the last few months. She has deputised at short notice for both our lead guitarist and swing violinist, not easy roles to fill, and I have been awed by her levels of competence and creativity. Her improvisational techniques display an intuitive flair and inspiration well beyond her years, and she exhibits the stage presence expected in a seasoned veteran. I would heartily endorse her as a flautist to any potential employers, whether in the fields of jazz, rock or classical music.” ~ Julian Isaacs of Hamer & Isaacs Gypsy Swing Band
“[Hannah] is a brilliant musician and I love working with her in the gypsy swing band. Her flute solos inspire me to up my game!” ~ Melanie Scullion B.A Hons.P.G Cert. P.G Dip.Perf. Professional violinist, violist and peripatetic music teacher.
I’ve haven’t been playing jazz and designing logos the entire time though. Whenever I’ve had a few hours free, I’ve been working on a few of my own musical side projects! Most recently I’ve been doing a bit of recording with my little sister (she’s ridiculously cool, but you can’t take her anywhere). 😛
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might have heard it before, but here’s a little bit of chilled out flute music I recorded as an earlier side project (it’s not jazz, but it’s cool and floaty)!
P.S. If you like any of my music, you can download it for FREE on bandcamp. Just click the link above. If you really like it and want me to make more music, you can donate however much or little as you like with the “name-your-price” button and you’ll get a gigantic smile and thanks from me!
Anyway, I’ve just been told that dinner’s on the table, so I’d better go, but I hope you’re enjoying the story so far and I’ll leave you with a few pictures from the last year and adates of my upcoming gigs! Hope to meet some of you at some point and as always, if you want to ask me anything, or have any great music recommendations, I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 😀
Flautist Hannah Sterry performing jazz flute for The Cottage Hotel’s Summer Music Nights in Hope Cove, Devon.
Ansa Back playing at Morleigh Village Hall
Hamer & Isaacs live at the Millbrook Inn, South Pool. Photo Credit: timhirstphotography.com
BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY (27th May) Ansa Back will be playing at Bigbury Golf Club from 4pm.
JUNE-SEPTEMBER The Sterrys will be playing every Tuesday evening at The Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove for their Summer Music Nights. Feel free to come and join us, enjoy a cocktail on the terrace and take in one of the most Mediterranean views that the South Hams can offer!
Open University coursework, music exams and life just carrying on as normal and have meant I’ve been desperately trying to meet deadlines (and not blogging much recently). This means that the cartoons have taken a bit of a hit, but the music keeps going!
Last Friday’s Gig with Hamer & Isaacs
We were playing at the Hermitage in Kingsbridge and at one point I found myself improvising hard-edged jazz flute to one of the fastest, liveliest (and most fun) renditions of “Summertime” I have ever played. Becky Brine was singing that night and her performances are always really good humoured, so we all had a brilliant night that only ended after not one… not two… but THREE encores.
Last Saturday we played a lovely birthday party for Greg’s (our lead guitarist’s) dad. Speaking to everyone after the gig it seemed like it went down really well and rumours of this crazy 8-piece spread as far and wide as East Allington pub, or so I’m told! 😛
There was a really touching moment when one of the guests discovered that the tenor sax player is my dad. He made us both realise how special it is to just be able to play music together as a family – it can be so easy to take it for granted, because I’ve grown up playing music with my dad and grandpa, but I really love that we can all just get together and play and I love that they gave me the opportunity to learn and never worried about my mistakes. I don’t know who I’d be without all of that.
This Saturday we’re gigging on a farm, so we’re packing tarpaulins, plenty of extension leads and wellies and looking forward to a friendly, relaxed evening (including crazy, lively music).
Sunday is recording day! Apparently we’ve got a band backdrop (photos to follow) and we’re being helped out by an amazing team of people who all deserve a huge THANK YOU and a good pub meal. There’s also a band website in the works, so I’ll post links to that when it’s ready.
Anyway, here we all are, looking very smiley (and slightly orange). More coming soon!
Resolutions aren’t something I usually bother with, but this year I want to start singing again. I used to have so much confidence – regularly singing Les Miserables tunes in the playground (mainly Castle on a Cloud) and, more embarrassingly, odd bits from S Club 7 (my friend knew all of the dance routines but didn’t like singing), and I was perfectly happy having various solo singing parts on stage at about age 7 – I’m not sure where that confidence went, but some of it’s started coming back already and it’s time to catch the rest before it decides to go on holiday for another decade!
This summer (maybe as early as easter) I’ll be singing and playing harp in the middle of Salcombe, for fun and confidence, and will make a real effort to play more solo gigs.
This year, most of my singing has been performing backing vocals for lively 8-piece band Ansa Back (when I’m not playing flute). I know it looks like there’s some sort of secret joke going on behind Amy’s back, but it actually Greg (lead guitarist) waiting for a cue from our drummer. Thanks to Mark Jones for the photo!
Life has been changing fast, which has meant that I’ve not drawn and uploaded the cartoons that I aimed to have completed by now. Here’s what’s been going on:
Christmas Cartoon Sales!
The Musical Compliments cartoon still seems to be doing really well. After thousands of sporadic shares on facebook, people seem to be going mad with t-shirt buying! If you’ve got a musical friend, who loves puns, it could make a really nice complimentary gift!
My sister has been involved in my most recent recording and I’m absolutely desperate to share it, but it’s not finished yet! Would love to hear any band name suggestions for dark, electronic, synth rock with flutes and a female singer… leave me a comment if you have any ideas!
On Wednesday I went to a few of the cafe’s and galleries in town, to ask whether they’d be interested in some live harp music and had a really nice chat with the people in The Art Cafe and The Harbour House. By complete chance, I bumped in to a few people I knew and had played for before and they gave me some really nice, on-the-spot references – it’s a small town! 🙂
The Weekly Gigs:
Tomorrow – I’ll be playing music with Hamer & Isaacs at East Portlemouth Village Hall, 8pm.
Tuesday (11th) – Ansa Back will be playing at The Hideaway Speakeasy, Kingsbridge, 8pm.
Here’s a poster I made earlier!
[Click for bigger picture]
Thursday (13th) – Ben Carr will be playing at The Kings Arms, Kingsbridge (I’ll be guesting on flute).
In addition to all of this, I’ve got an Open University deadline on Tuesday and I’m desperately trying to learn some new Grade VIII standard flute pieces. The driving theory hasn’t even been looked at!
Really glad to be busy, meeting so many people and doing so many things!
Hope nobody minds the lack of cartoons too much (they take a surprisingly long time to draw/perfect). I’ll release more as soon as I’m happy with them!