Friday, 24 January 2014

Bizarre gig request 2014 #1

One of the great things about THE Magnificent AK47 is that from time to time we get asked to do some very bizarre things, and usually we are more than up for it.

Unfortunately, we can't always take up these offers, such as this recent invite from someone organising an event on Friday 7th March at Foyles bookshop in central Bristol where they are hosting Meg Clothier, an author who has written an historical novel about Queen Tamar of Georgia. The enquirer wondered if Magnificent AK47 fancied coming to the event (7pm to 9pm approx.) and singing some Georgian songs?  Of course would love to, but this time we can't.  

But that doesn't stop YOU popping along . . .  Have a look at the Foyles Bristol website or check out the book in question.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Bradford Roots Festival

Would you trust these shifty looking characters with 45 minutes of your time?  We certainly wouldn't, but the good folks of Bradford on Avon did and received rich rewards in the shape of a memorable performance from our valiant Blokes.

We were very pleased to be invited to the now annual Bradford Roots Music Festival A celebration of musical talent in Bradford on Avon that took place on Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th January, 2014.

Our heroes overcame Post New Year hangovers and seasonal snuffles and severe jet lag to lash up a performance that had the audience, including a generous helping of the UK Spooky Men, lapping them up and baying for more.

The show included a slightly false starting "Gringo", followed by a lusty "Turnip Hoer’s Song" with the Vly very much in pesky attendance which neatly segued into a lovely rendition of "Shed" which tees up the slapstick of "The Duct Tape Madrigal" rather nicely.

The blokes then pulled out a beautiful rendition of "Shen Xar" before a number of chaps stepped forward in their Stove Pipe hats to regale the audience with the sing a long with cue cards that is "Unsung Heroes".  

Next came a new piece that has startled each and everyone of us how quickly it has come together and become a firm favourite with the lads, our attempt at one of the classics with our version of "The Norwegian Sailor's Song", which leads rather nicely into our very own classic "The Ashton Keynes Land Shanty" before finishing off with our Welsh section and a lovely "Myfanwy" topped off by a cracking "Delilah" which left the almost capacity audience shouting for more - but we knew we had the head start to the bar so declined! 

All of this can be heard for your delight at and is actually more than half decent.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Friday Night WAS Music Night #1

So, after much much muttering and "pubtalk" (and no action) Friday Night is Music Night has actually happened!

In the Back Room of The White Hart a small but spirited group gathered for Darren S, Alan H and Neil B to explain the ideas behind the invocation and to get started on a warm up.

New pieces were introduced to the group including "10,000 Miles" (a.k.a. Fare thee well) and an interesting take on a well know classic modified to be more suited to us blokes from North, North Wiltshire which was warmly received by all in the room.  More later. . . 

Group learning of songs can be very rewarding and this proved to be the case with the material being expertly taught and very quickly picked up by everyone, so much so that it only required a couple of run throughs to have the songs sounding more than presentable.

All in all it was a great start and everyone who took part proclaimed they would be back for more the next time.

Looking at the picture you may spot that it is not all blokes involved, and we are indebted to Mrs Darren and a few other Ladies of Blokes who ventured along and had a lovely time joining in with the deeper tones of the menfolk.

Of note was the fact that despite initial reservations the group gelled really well and started sparking off each other with many ideas for further pieces.

Next time there are plans to re-cap the first couple of songs and then rapidly expand the repertoire with new pieces.  If you want to bring any pieces along that you would like to share with the crowd, email to cross-check with the gang just in case they are already planning to cover it. 

Get yourself down there for the next event that is destined to become a firm favorite with all and sundry.  Next Friday Night is Music Night is scheduled for Friday 21st February so make a note in your diary.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Friday Night is Music Night #1

No, not that Friday Night is Music Night . . . !  A very Magnificent Friday Night is Music Night.

Fed up of Friday nights in watching BBC4?  

Do you find yourself falling asleep in front of a documentary about aged Rock Stars?  

Wish you had something more stimulating to do that involved good company, stretching yourself, learning new skills and all for free plus a pint in your hand?

We may well have the answer to your wishes. . . . Friday Night is Music Night #1.

After much muttering and "pubtalk" (and no action) within Magnificentland a few spirited souls have finally got together to try to actually get things off the ground.  

The basic idea is very simple, provide a format for people to meet up in the Back Room of The White Hart, learn a few new songs and sing a few old ones.

The approach will be very informal with a couple of blokes acting as Meisters of Ceremony, coaxing people through a warm up then teach a new song, sing some others, teach another song and then sing a bit more.  

Sheets with the worms and tadpoles (words and music) will be provided.

Open to all who would like the excuse to go down the pub and sing a bit, so bring along WAGs & FoBaFoBs (Friends of Blokes and Family of Blokes).

We will aim to start around 20:30 and see how it goes.  So be there, and be at the start of something possibly, er, Magnificent.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

3 more sleeps till we gig again at BoARootsFest

We are bound for B-o-A!  We are very excited (we are so easily pleased) to be heading to Southerner Wiltshire for a great annual institution to kick off the festival season as early as possible, at Bradford Roots Festival 2014 - A celebration of musical talent in Bradford on Avon.

Ok, so you might be asking yourself 

a) how come The Magnificent AK47 qualify to be from Bradford-on-Avon, and

b) how we slip into a category of "musical talent" worth celebrating?

and if you know anything about us, you'd have every right!  However, we can lay a claim to a BoA connection via our belov├ęd Choirmeister and also we do have musical talent of a very "special kind".  

Anyway, enough about us, get yourself along on Saturday to see us about 19:15 and a host of other talent, that is perhaps a good deal more 'local' and, er, talented. . . 

A full listing can be found here from their website.  We hope to see you there as we premier another new piece in a proper concert, and something that might surprise you!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Ask the family

With less than a week to go before our next performance, (and only a few days before our next rehearsal) please enjoy this quiz. 
Designed to help with learning those blessed words and to encourage a little more crooning before epiphany.
This is definitely quite a set of teasers to get the old cerebellum churning over and have one reaching for the lyric sheets "just to confirm the answers" that you "knew all along"!

Anyway, fingers on the buzzers and no conferring.
1. Why should we stay off whiskey and ale?
2. Finish the line: Now I be a tidy...
3. What are constructed, in equal measure, once we have avoided life's many temptations? 
4. List all the uses of Duct Tape as prescribed in the Madrigal.
5. Da Ta Vit what?
6. Complete the following: Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb .....
7. Fill in the gaps: Ho, hey, yay, ha, ...........................................Steuermann her
8. Swindon girls may or may not be able to do this.
9. What precedes this line, 'To earn your frown what is my blame?
9a. Now finish the verse.
10. What come first? I could see that girl .... or, So before they ........

Still none the wiser?  Hope over to our Soundcloud for pieces beginning with A - L for M - Z pieces for audio answers or come along to Bradford Roots Festival this coming Saturday to find out all the answers.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A Magnificent 2013

The Magnificent Review of 2013
So here it is, a one page review of 2013.


always seems a funny time of year, possibly because it is Panto season but a poster was noted and duly "digitally enhanced" to be a little more 

saw us performing earlier than ever before at the very wonderful "A Very Ashton Keynes" Evening with the other village supergroup, Siren Sisters.

In the resulting chaos of packing up after the gig in the rush to get to the pub for some "afters" there was the most shameful example of poor hoe management as several trusty props were shamelessly abandoned, leading to this ID parade (see right) to rehome the forlorn tools forsaken by their owners.

February was also very sad for all of us as we said farewell to Ken Brookes who was taken from us in a very untimely.  He is much missed for his craggy bass and fabulous chuckle.

saw us return to a very special gig for us as it was the scene of the very first performance of The Magnificent AK47 at Marlborough's "Singing for Laughs" fundraiser.

Another wonderful evening's entertainment of singing, laughing and cake.  Well done to the very lovely Vanessa L and her possee.   

saw us lying a little low on the Magnificent front but saw the 2nd BlokeFest crank into action with snazzy new website and much improved general admin and much excitement for the impending gathering of the clan.

was indeed a very merry month of many things,

  • Chippenham Folk Festival - not once, but twice!
  • Making connections with Alfred Williams - Local Hero 
  • Hope CiderFest singing in a fabulous accoustic
  • World premier of new song at Stroud Brewery
  • The Magnificent Wold Tour
  • Magnificent Tug 0' War 
Some great memories, especially of the Wold Tour, learning so much about our county, Wadworth's Brewery, historical landmarks and much more.

was another very busy month with some great moments, in particular
  • Our really good Tobacco Factory gig
  • BlokeFest 2013!
  • Being featured in the Guardian
  • Going on our Roundhouse adventure
  • Our 1st proper Recording session
  • Our 1st semi proper CD
  • The Spooky Summer of Love 

July and August 
by contrast were very quiet months (oh, apart from supporting The Spooky Men's Chorale on their tour!!).

This gave everyone a chance to relax and catch up with family and friends as we began again in earnest in September with our Pow Wow and getting back into full rehearsal for some big gigs.

We also had the very surreal experience of being sought out by a Belgian based French journalist who wanted to interview "The Magnificent Men" of Ashton Keynes and was most disappointed that he did not find us loitering around the pub for the 2 days prior to the "interview" but was suitably impressed when he did finally get to meet us.  To read the full piece with a very dodgy translation you can click here.  

September and October
saw us holding our annual Pow Wow and communal meal before rehearsing in earnest for our autumn gigs.

The first was our 2nd local big headliner in the Sundial Theatre Turnip Soup with the vocally extraordinary The Croutons.

Next up was a return to St George's as part of the Festival of Song and another thoroughly enjoyable performance at that great event.

saw us gathering to rehearse in the highly salubrious surroundings of Cove House Ball Room (!) instead of our usual space in the Back Room of The White Hart, preparing for a couple more performances.

We rampage through a couple of half sets as part of the Wadworth's Mini Winter Beer Festival before reprising some of the pieces at the new traditional "Beer & Carols" in The White Hart, before some of us squeeze in some Yuletide warblings down at the Prince Albert in Stroud(ish).  

We cap the year off with a few more T-Shirt competition entries to round of A Very Magnificent 2013 - let's hope 2014 can match it, with gigs already in January and February and much serious silliness already being planned, we suspect it might.

A truly MAGNIFICENT YEAR and thanks to all who have supported us, in and out of the group, throughout the year and wishing you all, a Magnificent 2014.

Stop Press!
More photos from the year can be found at