More from Meersbrook... The Meersbrook Street Piano
For two weeks at summers end 2013 an upright piano braved the elements at the top of Kent Road to entice passers-by into making a little noise.
“The piano was coming to the end of its life and we needed to get rid of it” explained freelance community musician Val Regan. “Our neighbours helped to set it up outside, taking the wheels off and securing it to the railings – it’s been a real community effort”. “People have just come across it and sat down to have a go. It’s been really popular with the kids at Carfield School, who’ve been queuing up every morning. Part of my job involves providing marginalised groups with access to musical instruments, so the reaction to the piano has been really lovely, and exactly what we hoped would happen”.
The street piano was available to members of the public until 7pm every day between Saturday, September 7th and Saturday, September 21st, becoming a regular part of the journey to and from school for pupils, older siblings and parents.
“The way in which contemporary culture is consumed makes it really easy to just sit back and be passive about our interaction with entertainment” continued Val, who lives on Argyle Road. “Programmes like Pop Idol promote the idea that music is only accessible to certain people performing a professionally produced product in a certain way, which can put people off just having a go”.
Created in Tandem
If you went to Big Boulder or Tramlines festival this year, you’ll no doubt have heard Tandem performing. All five band members live in Meersbrook and are in Y11 at Newfield.
The band; Finlay Stafford (vocals, ukulele, accordion), Dan Jackson (vocals, guitar), Chris Godhard (guitar), Michael Colley (bass guitar) and Noah Harris (drum kit), celebrated their second anniversary on 21st November by putting five new recordings on soundcloud. Finlay says, ‘[The name Tandem] is about everyone pulling their weight and contributing something.
‘Dan said it [Tandem] one fateful day before a big gig, and we liked it.’
He describes their music as having, ‘…drums and guitars and bass in it. Apart from that everything’s up for grabs from song to song. The best way to get an idea is to listen to us.’
Their musical influences range from the Chili Peppers to Nirvana to The Beatles to Gorillaz to Elvis Costello to the Foo Fighters to The Black Keys.
In September 2013 Tandem played at the Big Boulder music festival on Heeley Park, where they had an appreciative audience and superb sound guys. They’ve also played recently in Bar Abbey, and earlier in the summer at Tramlines (see video on youtube). Tandem have also performed at fundraising events in Meersbook Bank School.
12 New Heeley Voice December 2013 Issue 59 Above: Tandem take the stage at Tramlines
‘It was good to be back!’ says Finlay. ‘It felt odd to be playing with such a variety of other acts, the brass band and the dancers. But everyone had a great time.’
Sheffield is important to the band. ‘There are always people who can provide opportunities for people like us. There’s a very strong music scene in Sheffield, it’s not hard to find inspiration.’
If you’d like to listen to Tandem right now, check them out. And there’s talk of a gig coming up at Corporation (date TBC, check their Facebook page). http://www.facebook.com/tandem12 http://www.soundcloud.com/tandem12 http://www.youtube.com/tandem12vids
0114 250 0613 www.heeleyonline.org
Right: The street piano proved popular with local children!
“To some extent people have forgotten what voices and instruments actually sound like, that there are no rules to performance and that you can attain a real satisfaction by generating a sound that’s pleasing to you”. “People can be quite down on kids, suggesting that they’re just stuck in front of a screen all day but if you put something more interesting in front of them they’ll respond in a really positive way”.
“Considering the weather we’ve had the piano has held up really well” added neighbour Kristina Irwin. “My enduring memory will be the little girl who worked out some chords that sounded so exciting to her that she sat and played as if in a trance, for an hour in the pouring rain”.
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