AMJ Collective

AMJ and WOMAD schools project: Wiltshire Gazette and Herald

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

oriana womad 2014Malmesbury students give their all on WOMAD main stage

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:  Monday 28th July 2014  By Barry Leighton

You could see it in their faces – elation at having their music appreciated by so many people, pride at being part of an outstanding performance at a major festival and very likely relief that it all went so well.

Some 100 young musicians, singers and dancers from in and around Malmesbury opened this year’s WOMAD Festival with a spectacular, hour-long set of high energy roots reggae that had thousands of fans dancing ecstatically in a field.

Every year since the festival moved from Reading to Charlton Park, near the town, in 2007 music students from Malmesbury School and a cluster of surrounding village schools have collaborated with a group of world class musicians to open the event.

This year they linked up with a Bristol based reggae collective AMJ – John Hollis, Mark Spence and Andy Clarke – and after just a week or so of rehearsals had the unnerving task of performing what they had learnt in front of a huge crowd at the festival’s main, open air stage.

As the early evening sun beamed onto hordes of people swarming onto the grassy arena at 7pm on Thursday the ranks of singers and musicians, all wearing colourful T-shirts, struck-up a reggae beat that immediately had everyone dancing.

The AMJ collective provided a slick and solid reggae Afro framework within which the young musicians and singers expressed themselves while the dancers hardly stopped moving throughout.

“It was amazing, really amazing,” said breathless 11 year-old dancer Lily Gee-Smith, of Malmesbury primary school, minutes after stepping off-stage.

“I was slightly nervous at first but once we got started it was great.”

Fellow Malmesbury primary school pupil Sakura Clemo, 10, one of the singers, said: “It was really, really fun. A great experience. When you get on stage you don’t feel nervous any more – you just enjoy it.

“I could see my mum, my grandparents, and lots of people I knew in the crowd. Everyone seemed to be enjoying it. They were all dancing.”

Toby Journeaux, 17, normally plays classical and jazz saxophone but had to adapt his style to fit into a Jamaican groove for what was called The Road To Reggae project.

“I’d not experienced reggae at all until the rehearsals so it was all new to me,” he said.

“But I’ve learnt a lot and it went really well. We were improvising a lot, bouncing off each other. It was great fun.”

Another Malmesbury School student Lucy Kershaw, 16, one of the singers, said: “It was a really fantastic experience. They (AMJ) were great people to work with. They were really good teachers. Was I nervous? Not at all. AMJ made us all feel really confident.”

Malmesbury School music teacher Debbie Corscadden said: “It was brilliant. It went really, really well. The students pulled out all the stops.”

Around half the students on-stage were from Malmesbury School while another 50 were recruited for the session from five local primary schools – Malmesbury, Brinkworth Earl Danby, Minety, Lea & Garsdon and Crudwell.

Their performance set the template for the fo llowing three days which saw around 30,000 world music fans converge on the Earl of Suffolk’s back garden to experience approximately 100 artists/bands from virtually every corner of the planet.

http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/11370985.Malmesbury_students_give_their_all_on_WOMAD_main_stage/?ref=rss

Malmesbury students learn a new rhythm for WOMAD appearance

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Saturday 19th July 2014 By Barry Leighton

The spirit of Bob Marley has been alive, well and kicking up some unfamiliar but decidedly heady rhythms in Malmesbury over the past week and a half as the town has gone reggae crazy.

In the space of five days around 100 children applied their musical skills to performing some funky reggae beats in preparation for next week’s WOMAD Festival.

Music students from Malmesbury School and a cluster of village schools in the vicinity have risen to the challenge of creating their own take on the sunshine sounds of Jamaica.

During a series of intense sessions throughout last week they were tutored at the school by three experienced Bristol-based reggae musicians John Hollis, Mark Spence and Andy Clarke, known collectively as AMJ.

The trio – who also brought along several guest musicians – taught the children, aged between eight and 18, the basics of the music that emerged from the ghettos of Kingston during the 1960s.

On Tuesday Malmesbury’s reggae ensemble had a dress rehearsal within the medieval walls of the ruined abbey that has been more used to the sombre chants of monks.

Now the young reggae orchestra is set to open the four-day WOMAD – World of Music Art and Dance Festival – with a performance of material especially written for the event by AMJ on the main stage at 7pm on July 24.

“There’s been a positive vibration ever since the project began,” said music teacher Debbie Corscadden, quoting a phrase from the Bob Marley song of the same name.

“The school has certainly been filled with sunny, laidback music,” she said. “The children were very excited to be working with professional reggae musicians. Some of them are accomplished musicians themselves – even those as young as 12.”

While the younger children focused on singing and dancing, the older ones have learnt how to apply their talents to the singular reggae beat on a variety of instruments including bass, brass, guitars, keyboards and percussion.

It has now become a tradition for children in the area to open the event on the Thursday night in front of thousands of fans with a performance alongside a top world music band.

http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/11347055.Malmesbury_students_learn_a_new_rhythm_for_WOMAD_appearance/

To see a gallery of photos, click here.

Catrin, Seckou and AMJ rock WOMAD 2014

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

wom1The Astar family were out in full force this week as WOMAD sold all 40,000 tickets for the first time at Charlton Park.

Catrin & Seckou played a blinder in the early hours of Saturday morning. Don’t take our word for it… here is what the papers said.

“Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, a collaboration as delightful as it is unlikely. Finch, a Welsh harpist, was lined up a few years ago to play a tour with Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté, and warmed up by rehearsing with his Senegalese counterpart Keita. Diabaté eventually showed up mere hours before the first of those concerts, and though he was there for the tour, Finch felt a closer connection with Keita. They carried on working together and last year released an album of duets, Clychau Dibon, that proved a surprise hit.

Here, the blend of Manding and Welsh material finally stilled the buzz of chatter around the edge of the tent. They listened intently to each other, nodding and smiling as the songs took shape. They duelled playfully on “Future Strings”, Finch plucking ascending chords and running 47-string-long glissandi in a way that is hard for a kora to emulate, though Keita tried; when she knocked rhythms on the frame of her harp, his echo on the gourd of the kora was resonant and strong. The centrepiece of the set, as of the album, was “Robert Ap Huw Meets Nialing Sonko”: in the second half, when Finch took up the dancing Casamance pattern with her right hand, plucking the occasional bass string with her left, the whole tent held its breath.”      Financial Times

“Following Thompson after midnight was the mellifluous award-winning sound of the kora and harp of Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch, as gorgeous as it is on record”   Independent

Copyright: York Tillyer

Copyright: York Tillyer

AMJ were also a huge success on the main stage with the Malmesbury schools’ project. Their biggest gig yet and the Collective has expanded tenfold!

 

AMJ preparing for WOMAD

Friday, July 11th, 2014

2014AMJ are working hard with the WOMAD educational program to bring the Thurday night schools’ project to the Charlton Park main stage…

Hope to see you there.

http://womad.co.uk/lineup/timetable/artist/4642/amj-collective-and-the-malmesbury-school-project/

AMJ VINYL RELEASE FOR RECORD STORE DAY

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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New AMJ-RSD release The Brave is now out on 12 inch vinyl

 

AMJ one-off live show

Friday, April 11th, 2014

todAMJ will be making a rare live appearance at the Tribe Of Doris spring party on 12th April.

http://www.tribeofdoris.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Tribe-Of-Doris-Spring-Party-Final.jpg for more details.

French review of The Brave from Culture Dub

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

AMJ meets RSD ft. Mariama Kouyate – The Brave – 12″ Astar Music

Voici une sortie pour le moins atypique que nous a envoyé en avant première le label anglais Astar… Une rencontre improbable entre le Sénégal et le dub anglais, disponible prochainement en vinyle.

AMJ-Brave

AMJ meets RSD ft. Mariama Kouyate – 12″ The Brave


Créé par un musicien aventurier du nom de John Hollis, le label Astar Artes, que l’on qualifierait de world music, s’apprête à sortir un second vinyle de la rencontre entre AMJ et RSD. Si vous connaissez sûrement RSD (Rob Smith, membre du duo trip-hop Smith & Mighty), le nom de AMJ ne vous dit peut-être rien… AMJ est un collectif de musiciens formé autour d’Andy Clarke à la batterie, Mark Spence à la basse et du producteur John Hollis (ex membre du groupe de reggae anglais Restriction).

Mariama Kouyate

 Pour ce second vinyle en commun, ils ont décidé de faire appel à une jeune chanteuse de Dakar, Mariama Kouyate. Ses mots, chantés en mandingue et en wolof, parlent des différentes luttes de la vie, précisant qu’avec la pensée positive, nous pouvons relever les défis et les surmonter.


La mélodie a été écrite dans les années 1980 par Basil Anderson du  groupe Restriction pour la chanson « I Want to be Alone ». Pour cette nouvelle version, AMJ a invité, outre Mariama Kouyaté, le guitariste sénégalais Moustapha Gaye sur le titre « Kana Bori », le cubain Jose Zalba sur la version à la flûte traversière, ainsi que ses compatriotes Vicente Arrencibia aux congas et Michel Salazar aux claviers.

Le résultat est étonnant, une sorte de reggae dub très mélodieux, avec la touche de stepper de RSD qu’il faut pour faire vivre le morceau décliné en 4 versions.

AMJ meets RSD ft. Mariama Kouyate – The Brave (Astar Music)

  1. The Brave (Mounia-La)
  2. The Brave – Dub
  3. Kana Bori
  4. The Brave – Flute Cut

Le vinyle sera disponible le 3 Mars 2014. Plus d’infos sur www.amjcollective.com

Loob

Original post at Culture Dub

AMJ Reggaemani Review

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Reggaemani
04 November 2013 · 22:01
An inspired and ambient debut from AMJ Collective

Former Restriction members Mark Spence, Andy Clarke and John Hollis have re-united after three decades as AMJ Collective. Last year they dropped the 12” Sound History Volume 1 and now it’s time for a debut full-length effort.

On Sign they have worked with a diverse set of musicians from various parts of the world in order to create an ambient, atmospheric and warm reggae album with African and Latin tocuhes. This album is something truly special and it, for example, features Cuban trumpeter Michel Padron and Colombian guitarist Camilo Menjura on an inspired version of Don Corleon’s Drop Leaf riddim.

It was recorded in Bristol, Paris, Havana and London and offers deep and relaxed grooves, but also glances at dubstep and dub. Traditional reggae is merged with lush strings and singer Kaia McTernan graces Sign of the Times with her ethereal voice.

Sign is deeply rooted in reggae, but it also pushes boundaries and takes reggae to new and exciting places. It’s a dreamy, contemporary and global groove.

http://reggaemani.wordpress.com/tag/amj-collective/

AMJ New Website

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

web2AMJ Collective have a new website with all the different projects and members shown for the first time. Go to http://www.amjcollective.com/

AMJ go live!

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
webpicThe AMJ Collective play their first live shows starting this week at Shambala ….
 
Sat Aug 24th Koo Kou's, Shambala
Sat Aug 31st Westbourne Club, Emsworth
Weds Sept 4th The Bell, Bath

SIGN FROM AMJ released

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
SIGN FROM AMJ
The debut album from the AMJ Collective is now released. Sign features mixes from all four AMJ departments – Almighty Groove, Dub, RSD and Space.

Dub Maestro Rob Smith is no stranger to innovative sonic adventures, a Bristol man who emerged from the reggae scene of the 80s as a guitarist and engineer, later developing his craft as a producer, DJ and re-mixer. Known for his work in Smith & Mighty and More Rockers, now piloting his own unique RSD sound, Rob tours constantly, performing in many countries across the globe.

Space mixes
Jonathan Lane worked with the BBC for ten years, plying his craft as an engineer with Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4 and network TV. Afterwards he set up his own recording business in Bristol specialising in acoustic and classical music working with many artists from Andy Sheppard to the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

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