Raph Clarkson.

Summer 2015 – Spitalfields, ETO, WSP, London Jazz Fest…

What a wonderful summer it’s been so far! I’ve been lucky enough to work on an exciting mixture of creative community projects as well as some really fun performing work. My adventure as a Spitalfields Music trainee music leader is coming to a close, following a project at Phoenix School in Bow working with young autistic children, and the inspiring Sam Chaplin and Abimaro Gunnell leading. Outstanding creative musicians in their own right, they led a joyful project exploring ‘journeys in our imagination’. What a pleasure it was to assist them, with a chance to hone my gospel-soul-groove based keys playing! More recently I’ve just completed a project designed and delivered by trainee leaders – myself, vocalist Amy Doyley and cellist Miriam Wakeling. We’ve been exploring pirates with a lovely year 3 class at St Mathias school in Brick Lane – specifically a pirate seeking forgiveness!

I’ve also had the opportunity to work on two outstanding English Touring Opera community projects – one an opera created with and by a group of older people suffering from early onset dementia, their carers and their partners, in the stunning surroundings of Dulwich Picture Gallery; the other, an opera created with and by a group of Lambeth schoolchildren from four different primaries, performed at the OvalHouse Theatre, called ‘Sting in the Tale’, based on Aesop’s fables.. Enormous thanks to Tim Yealland, who does incredible work putting all these projects together and directing them for ETO, and Llewellyn Ap Myrddin, Rachel Leach (composers) Tim Burke (musical director and arranger), Sue Moore, Abigail Gostick (vocalists) and RN Prakash (Miridangam) – a marvellous range of very talented practitioners who were a pleasure to work with.

Playing wise I’ve been lucky to play with some excellent Salsa bands – Roberto Pla’s Latin Ensemble, and Manteca – as well as continuing to get my ska on (as much as an awkward dancer like me can) with The Dualers. Tickets available for our show at the Indigo 02 in November! I also really enjoyed a short tour playing with WorldService Project, sharing the bill with experimental rockers Schnellertollermeier from Switzerland. WSP will be recording our third album in September before undertaking a trip to China in October.

I can also reveal that my ensemble The Dissolute Society are performing at the Vortex for the London Jazz Festival on 22nd November, with the legendary John Taylor guesting on piano. You can already order tickets! Here… I’m already very excited about this. Hope to see you there!