Saturday, 28 September 2013

Friday 11th Gig at the Sundial Theatre

Coming very soon is our big Autumn gig at the Sundial Theatre with The Croutons and we will be doing a number of things to promote the event, such as taking over the Village Shop Window Display (more news later).  

More info can be found on the full site that can be found here, with us nestled in amongst many other celebrities and class acts!

And once again, let us take the opportunity to make it known that tickets are selling very well with over half already sold, so don't dally, click here to book now to avoid disappointment.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Boyan Ensemble of Kiev

Being from Ashton Keynes, we are used to strange and out of the ordinary things happening for such a small village, but seeing a poster for a concert from a genuine world class Ukrainian choir in the local shop has to rank quite high as a "Very Ashton Keynes" moment.

Odd that the village has its very own world beating "Choir in the Community" based here with links to far Eastern singing traditions.  Maybe not in quite the same league but at least we can appreciate the vocal qualities just that little more ourselves.

You can sneak across the country line and travel to the throbbing metropolis that is Cirencester to hear the Boyan Ensemble of Kiev in action in the beautiful setting of Cirencester Parish Church on Wednesday 25th September 

And you can find out more their website that features a good deal of information about the group and the major too they are undertaking around the country at

Not to be missed.  Tickets from

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Full English

Another tasty nugget from that nice young man on the radio, Mark Radcliffe and his, that there, Folk Show regaling us with The Full English, a majorly significant project, about which you can learn more at

Listening to the show they played a piece call "Man In The Moon" which was based on words salvaged from oblivion by Alfred Williams, the "Hammerman Poet", known to several members of our group and a regular local hero.  A snippet of the show appears to be available here.

Full information about our growing connection with Alfred's legacy will escape over time as certain plots are hatched and progress beyond mere "pubtalk".

Reading through the blurb on the Full English website it really is a remarkable resource and voluminous archive, one of which our members will be encouraged to plunder in the quest for material relevant to our burgeoning repetoire and needs of BlokeFest (more on the 2014 version soonish).

Everyone should cherish this resource and also consider patronising the gigs that are scheduled including one nearby(ish) in that there Bristol Town at the Colston Hall - see

Do drop us a line at if you are interested in attending as we may well be semi-organizing a "Class Outing" for the gang to go along in an Elliison's charabanc - more on a more local possible "Class Outing" and top Ukranian singing soon.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Spooky Men's Chorale on BBC Radio 3's The Choir

Before we finally bid farewell to the immenseness that is The Spooky Men's Chorale and the joy they have sprinkled on the summer all over the UK (no coincidence the weather has been so much better this year??), there is one more nugget of Spookyness to unearth.

You may not have noticed, but the blokes were in action on the BBC again just before their last emotional concert at the Union Chapel, and what an interesting piece of radio it is.  The programme in question is The Choir presented by Mary King who was looking at the growing interest in natural voice singing which lead her to meet with the Spooky Men's Chorale and others.

Events like this probably don't happen enough, but the programme was full of very interesting material including a decent length interview with the SpookMeister himself as well as a lady called Phoene Cave, a member of the Natural Voice Practitioner's Network.  This is another website worth exploring where you might find reference to someone we know very well.

But, unfortunately if you haven't heard the piece by the time you see this posting it could be too late to head over to the BBC Website to listen again, however some decent soul has manage to scrape the recordings together, trim them down and posted them so you can enjoy them for a little longer.

You really should give it a listen as the two pieces have a lot of interesting material in them and some revealing insights into some of the inspiration and the methods of the SpookMeister and how he pieces the Spooky's songs together.  There is a particularly interesting insertion of a genuine traditional Georgian choral piece Riding Song, Tskhenosnuri, performed by the excellent Ensemble Rustavi (well worth an amble over to explore their site).  You can purchase a recording of this piece (bizarrely enough captured whilst in Australia) from here - if you are interested in Georgian male choral singing it is highly recommended.

Ending their tour on yet another high (how will they cope returning to normal life?!) with this final comment from Mary King in conversation with Mr Stephen Taberner, "Anything that gets men to sing is a good thing", Agreed!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Pow Wow 2013

Pow Wow 2013 Prep

Dear Reader,

This is a long(ish) and possibly dull, but very important posting about setting up for the Pow Wow (AGM), so please read on.  

Pow Wow Agenda for 22nd September 2013 after the Workshop is:

  1. Apologies for shameful lack of attendance
  2. Review Minutes of last Pow Wow
  3. Big Chief's Report (summary of last year, proposals/dates for the next year & Fascinating Facts Quiz)
  4. Finance Meister's Report
  5. Review the any of the above, of the Objects of the group, & Subscriptions & Membership
  6. Review any Proposed Amendments to "The Magnificent Charter".
  7. Election of Officers
  8. A.O.B.
  9. Group Meal - Veg or Meat Chile - you will be asked your preference in advance
We hereby give notification of a call for nominations for the Inner Circle of Magnificent Representatives and an amendment to the Magnificent Constitution.  All sounds a bit serious but it is very worthy stuff and helps the group run as smoothly as it does - "cat herding" 30+ blokes is never easy, it helps to be a bit organized.

Currently we have these officers of The Inner Circle:

  • the “Big Chief” (Chairbloke and Chief Instigator)
  • one or two “Little Chiefs” (Vice Instigators)
  • a “Scribe” (Secretary or Record Keeper)
  • a “Finance  Meister” (Treasurer)
  • a Memorabilia Meister” responsible for T-Shirts and other items of memorabilia
  • a “Music Meister” responsible for maintaining a library of songs, words and music.
The “Principal Choir Meister” (Choirmaster) is appointed by the Inner Circle and is a member of the Inner Circle ex-officio.

The Inner Circle and/or Principal Choir Meister may nominate additional “Deputy Choir Meisters” (a.k.a. Section Leaders) to lead sessions when the Principal Choir Meister is not able to be present or simply wishes to delegate musical matters*.

We are letting it be known that we welcome nominations for any of these posts and in addition:
  • Art Meister (to produce Posters and other Art Work)
  • Local Media Officer (to liaise with local media TV & Radio, village magazines & papers)
  • Regional and National Media Officer (the above but beyond the local)
  • Gig Meister #1 Gig Meister  #2 (to do leg work organizing gigs)
  • Web Meister #1 and Web Meister #2 (to organize all the webstuff and a Deputy)
We anticipate some of these may be appointed in an honorary capacity, ie to someone not a current member of the group.  These are all voluntary post with no payment other than satisfaction of a job well done and maybe the occasional beer from the Group kitty.  However, before you get any ideas of lavish knees ups, any expenditure needs to be ratified by a majority of the Inner Circle and will be published in the accounts, so any expensive jollies will be noticed and the miscreants brought to book.

Appointees will be expected to attend a minimum of four meetings held per year scheduled once a quarter, most likely after a Workshop, to discuss Magnificent matters, decide what to do and get on with doing it in a timely fashion.

Basically, most of the guys have been doing their posts for a couple of years and at the very least we need to shuffle the pack so if you have some time and skills to offer and would like to play a part in running the group then step forward.  It is NOT a huge commitment, is good fun and the reward is seeing the group flourish under your influence.

We also need to change the Magnificent Constitution so that we can have more achievable dates for the End of Year and Pow Wow.  To view the current version click here.

Right, that is enough serious stuff for a while.  There is still a little bit more info* to come out this next week and the one beyond about the Pow Wow and other plans, but not much more now you will be relieved to know.

Yours, in mutual brotherly admiration
The Magnificent AK47 Inner Circle

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

New for Autumn

We have just received this link to the new Autumn/Winter Catalog from the Sundial Theatre in Cirencester where we will be performing along with the much more compact (there's only 3 of them) grouping of The Croutons and we thought it looked rather splendid.  
And it looks even more splendid on the full site that can be found here, with us nestled in amongst such greats as Morecambe and Wise impersonators and Phil Jupitus before turning the page to find Nigel Farage!

And once again, let us take the opportunity to make it known that tickets are selling, and at a pretty reasonable pace!  By the time you read this around 40 will have already been snapped up so really, don't dally, click here to book now or avoid disappointment.

Saturday, 7 September 2013


Not being able to find any suitable photos of a Myfanwy, we have resorted to the next best thing, three top blokes captured in action (don't ask!) at BlokeFest 2013, so we thought that would be a good substitute.  In passing, the Welsh translation sounds pretty close to Myfanwy if spoken with a muffled North Waleian accent, try it.

Anyway, we mention this because we have recently posted an updated version in our Practice Pieces on one of our Soundclouds, to help the chaps learn all those tricky words and can be found at

Welsh (Old Englishe)

Paham mae dicter, O Myfanwy,
Yn llenwi'th lygaid duon di?
A'th ruddiau tirion, O Myfanwy,
Heb wrido wrth fy ngweled i?
Pa le mae'r wên oedd ar dy wefus
Fu'n cynnau 'nghariad ffyddlon ffôl?
Pa le mae sain dy eiriau melys,
Fu'n denu'n nghalon ar dy ôl?

Why is it anger, O Myfanwy,
That fills your eyes so dark and clear?
Your gentle cheeks, O sweet Myfanwy,
Why blush they not when I draw near?
Where is the smile that once most tender
Kindled my love so fond, so true?
Where is the sound of your sweet words,
That drew my heart to follow you?
Pa beth a wneuthum, O Myfanwy
I haeddu gwg dy ddwyrudd hardd?
Ai chwarae oeddit, O Myfanwy
 thanau euraidd serch dy fardd?
Wyt eiddo im drwy gywir amod
Ai gormod cadw'th air i mi?
Ni cheisiaf fyth mo'th law, Myfanwy,
Heb gael dy galon gyda hi.

What have I done, O my Myfanwy,
To earn your frown? What is my blame?
Was it just play, my sweet Myfanwy,
To set your poet's love aflame?
You truly once to me were promised,
Is it too much to keep your part?
I wish no more your hand, Myfanwy,
If I no longer have your heart.
Myfanwy boed yr holl o'th fywyd
Dan heulwen ddisglair canol dydd.
A boed i rosyn gwridog iechyd
I ddawnsio ganmlwydd ar dy rudd.
Anghofia'r oll o'th addewidion
A wnest i rywun, 'ngeneth ddel,
A dyro'th law, Myfanwy dirion
I ddim ond dweud y gair "Ffarwél".
Myfanwy, may you spend your lifetime
Beneath the midday sunshine's glow,
And on your cheeks O may the roses
Dance for a hundred years or so.
Forget now all the words of promise
You made to one who loved you well,
Give me your hand, my sweet Myfanwy,
But one last time, to say "farewell".

More information can be found at

Sunday, 1 September 2013

This Autumn's BIG Local GIG at the Sundial, Cirencester

Heads up on our BIG GIG this autumn - we are delighted to be back at the wonderful Sundial Theatre in sunny Cirencester, and we are even more delighted that we will be performing with the very talented The Croutons.

Tickets available now from - avoid disappointment, don't delay and book today.