In the days when I actively observed developments on the heavy metal scene, I was always amused by the style of the group known as Motorhead. I can’t tell you the names of any of their songs, because the music went over my head just a little, but one couldn’t miss the presence and antics of the band’s lead singer, known to many outside of his fan base as Lemmy. It was rumoured that Lemmy had been a roadie (or tour support worker, depending on the way you look at things) for Jimi Hendrix, so he must have learnt a few things from the great man. Motorhead had a very successful album entitled “No Sleep till Hammersmith”. The title probably referred to the band’s lifestyle on tour, till it reached its London dates at the venue then known as Hammersmith Odeon. I feel a little bit like that (on a smaller scale, of course) in the lead up to my performance of Afonja’s Minstrel on Saturday, November 3rd at Longfield Hall, 50 Knatchbull Road, London SE5 9QY at 7.30pm
Mentioning Motorhead in the context of my music might feel tenuous to some, but I did have an encounter with the group when I worked on a project for an orchestra based in Derby, many years ago. The orchestra was presenting a concert programme of music that included works by composers of African descent, including Fela Sowande (the patriarchal figure of Nigerian art music) and I was leading the creative learning part of the work. I stayed in a remote village in the midlands called Ab Kettleby, and commuted into Leicester to do the work.
The concert was to be presented in De Montfort Hall – Leicester’s leading concert hall. I decided to visit the venue several days before the performance, to get a feel for the space. Nothing prepared me for what I found when I arrived there.
De Montfort Hall is a standard, respectable concert hall. On my arrival, I could almost feel the walls shaking from the sheer volume of the sounds coming from within. I had randomly chosen to visit the venue on a day when Motorhead was to perform there and the band was doing a sound check!
I visited Longfield Hall yesterday, to familiarise with the space, in preparation for Saturday’s performance. There was nothing quite as ear splitting in volume coming from the building. I was able to spend some quality time, rehearsing Afonja’s Minstrel. I hope some of you will join me on Saturday, November 3rd at 7.30pm, when I perform the piece in public for the first time.