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.
It’s scary posting music in a public space, but this afternoon I decided to record a world-jazz-funk-fusion version of Summertime by George Gershwin and thought it’d be nice to share.
The aim of this really was just to create something that I was happy with, within a deadline of a few hours and to build confidence.
I’ve been quite self conscious about singing solo since secondary school – I know so many talented singers and if I try to compare myself to them then I lose half of my confidence. I tend to deal with the doubt by acknowledging that everybody’s voice is completely unique and that I might as well do my best, but sometimes the confidence still goes.
It’s even more bizarre when you consider that I’d be quite happy to stand in front of thousands or millions of people playing the flute.
The clarinet’s still a work in progress in terms of learning, but I stuck it in there just for fun!
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!
Wednesday…brings the second of Ben Carr’s Music Sessions at The Hideaway. Anyone can come along, bring an instrument and join in (I’ll be there with my flute). The whole evening’s great fun and you’ll meet some really nice people. Starts at 8pm.
Sunday…Gallows Ghost play The Hideaway and have asked me if I’d like to stand in for a few tunes as a guest musician. They’re lovely people and their music is great fun to play, so the answer is always yes!
Today’s discovery is… a new instrument called The Fluid Piano. The strings all have sliders that enable each note to be changed in pitch (by up to a whole tone) as the piano is being played. This also means that the piano can be tuned to the true harmonic series, making it much more compatible with traditional indian music, which doesn’t use the standard western tuning (twelve note equal temperament) and can often involve fluctuations in pitch.
Anyway, I hope you’re all having a good week and if you happen to be at any of these gigs, feel free to say hi (I’ll be the one with the flute and the long brown hair)!
It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable, musical week with lots of things happening, but here are the highlights:
Tuesday: John Sterry (pianist for The Sterrys) entertained guests and visitors to The Cottage Hotel with a relaxed evening of jazz piano.
Wednesday: Ben Carr hosted his first Blues Session in The Hideaway Speakeasy, which turned out to be an amazing success! The atmosphere was wonderful and it was good to see musicians who’d never met just getting up and joining in (at one point Ian Feetenby jumped in and provided us with some brilliantly spontaneous percussion on acoustic guitar). The next session is on Wednesday 8th August – Feel free to come along and enjoy the music or, better still, bring an instrument and join in! We’re all friendly, I promise!
Friday: Hamer & Isaacs played The B-Bar in Plymouth and were kind enough to ask me to step in as a guest musician on their second set. What followed was a foot-tapping extravaganza of swinging gypsy jazz with one of the liveliest audiences I’ve ever played to! I think everyone left that gig with a huge smile.
Yesterday I rediscovered this (it’s a very silly poem that I’m currently calling “The Boyfriend Song” although that might change at a later date). There are a lot of ideas floating around in my head to do with the tune and how any artwork should look so now it’s just a process of elimination to get to something I’m happy with and run with it.
As yesterday was also Wednesday, it was Ben Carr’s blues night at the Royal Oak again and I remembered the camera this time! I only got a few photos, because I was playing flute some of the time too, but was quite pleased with this one:
I mentioned it at the top of the page, but for those of you who, like me, have a horrible internet connection and don’t want to open a new tab because it will take about 40 years to load… here’s “The Boyfriend Song”.
The Boyfriend Song
Do you mind conversations about zombie ninja pirates?
How about debates about the newest things in science?
Do you like Monty Python? Are you musical at all?
Can you manage to be lewd without losing your class at all?
I’d like a boyfriend please!
I’d like a boyfriend please!
It’s mostly for great company and not those birds and bees,
So I’d like a boyfriend please!
(Y’know, if it’s not too much trouble)
Are you fussy about food?
Are you considerate or rude?
Do you like cats (no, not for dinner)?
Are you taller? Fatter? Thinner?
(Could you possibly put up with my ridiculous ideas?)
Do you think this drawing’s great?
What kinds of people do you hate?
Are you kind and are you stable?
Are your hands above the table?
I’d like a boyfriend please!
I’d like a boyfriend please!
I’m obviously too fussy, but I’d like one that’s a tease.
Yep, I’d like a boyfriend please!
(Or maybe I’m closing my mind too much)
I shouldn’t be so picky about gender.
But instincts have a stranglehold on me.
It shouldn’t be my fate, to pro-cre-ate;
There are already too many fish in the sea.
If we’re going to be so ridiculously politically correct about it…
Might as well include everybody…
I’d like a girlfriend please!
I’d like a girlfriend please!
And if you’re unsure, it doesn’t matter anymore.
Leave judgements and criticisms at the door.
You could be hetero- or homo-
It’s no problem; I’m no phobe- Oh.
I just have one more thing to say:
Though, theoretically, I’ve no preference,
Logic didn’t get the reference.
So… I’d still probably like a boyfriend please.
(Apply now with your CVs.)
I feel I should point out that I have a lovely boyfriend (and a ridiculous sense of humour), so please don’t take this seriously – it’s just a bit of fun! It’s something I’d forgotten about and unearthed as I was trying to clear up the mess of files on my computer with names like “idea”, “another thing” and “messing about”.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post anyway! Let me know what you think in the comments!
On Wednesday 25th Jan, there was a brilliant session at the Royal Oak.
About a week before, my dad (Joe) and I had been asked we’d like to come and join in with some blues with Ben Carr and a few guest musicians. Neither of us knew exactly how it would work and we’d had no idea what we were going to play – just that it started at 8pm and that it’d probably be a lot of fun.
Ben Carr played his blues set first, with brother Tom Carr on double bass. Ben is an excellent guitarist and manages to organise things like this so quickly – I’m not sure that anyone else would be able to do it!
Next, Tez Locke played a set of completely original works and Ben asked if Doug “Big Toe” Smith and I would join in . Tez was the only one who’d played the songs before, but I joined in with improvised flute fills and harmonies and generally had a good time. People seemed to think we’d been playing together for ages, so it must have sounded fairly good, and we all really enjoyed it.
The last set was made up of three the musicians from Hamer and Isaacs gypsy swing band (Howard, Julian and Rosie) and my dad (Joe) joined them on saxophone with fills, harmonies and improvisations. They were amazing – Rosie has a stunning voice which suited the blues/swing style perfectly and meshed really well with the guitar and bass.
The evening ended with everyone joining in for the last blues and lots of chatting! The atmosphere was just so relaxed and appreciative that I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t want to play there again.