Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Young Guest Reviewer: Kubo and the Two Strings

Our young guest reviewer, Eliot Ely, aged 11, has sent us his comments about this exciting film.

'Kubo and the Two Strings' is about a young boy named Kubo who must locate a magical suit of armour worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.
It is a very exciting film but a bit scary in places! I really enjoyed it though because of the action genre and the fact that all most all of it was stop motion animation. I would give this film a 4/5 because I thought it was a great but there could have been some more story. I would recomend this film to ages 10 and above, due to the fact it was quite scary. I would definitely see it in the cinima again. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Interview: Martin Turner ex-Wishbone Ash

Martin Turner gives us an insight into his long career in the music business ahead of his concert Written in the Stars on Friday 11th November at 20.00

Your career with Wishbone Ash spans 40 years. What changes have you seen in the music industry over that time, as a musician and a producer?

MT:  Changes have been huge -  many creative people worked in the music biz back in the late 60s and 70s, now everything is much more corporate and run by accountants looking for instant revenue generation it seems. The creativity of bands and song writers was quite incredible during this period as our post war generation came of age and set about changing the world, or at least trying to.
Recording back in those days could only really be done in a commercial recording studio which was expensive.  Over the last few decades tape has gradually been replaced by computer based systems recording to hard drives and can to some extent be achieved in back rooms and garages, so massive numbers of smaller home studios have sprung up wherein it is now possible to get decent recordings and continue to own the equipment. Obviously the results do vary and in the end are down to skill, music making craft, etc.

You are a prolific song writer, bringing out 10 studio albums in 10 years from 1970-80. This is an amazing feat, since other artists tend to have gaps between albums. Where does your inspiration come from?

MT:  Most of the songs I have written come from personal experience and require emotional involvement but I also have an ability to tune into the cosmos or whatever you want to call it and write stuff that is more instinctive and a less cerebral process. I cannot profess to have a great deal of control over this but when it happens from time to time the results are usually very strong.
I also enjoy reading, been getting into Oscar Wilde's writing in recent years.
One looks for inspiration all around,  especially in other people, the human condition, etc.

Have you ever experienced a period when you were ‘blocked’?

MT:   I never see it as "blocked",  more just emotionally exhausted sometimes and needing to recharge the creative batteries.

Do you have a particular album that is very meaningful for you?

MT:   Not sure if we are talking Wishbone Ash here or other artists.  My tastes in music are pretty varied - I have always listened to Classical music right from when I was a child, particularly fond of Russian composers - Tchaikovsky,  Rachmaninov, Shostakovitch. I am also fond of he music from the Cirque de Soleil shows which blends many musical styles. I have an album that I use to relax, chill out and it has even fixed me on occasion when I have been crazy - that is Dakshina by Deva Premal - Hindu music.
Talking Wishbone Ash music, obviously I love 'em all because so much of my energy went into them.  I should mention two albums that made me cry - one was Locked In (1976) where I had a vocal cord problem and I was very unhappy with how the album ended up sounding. Tom Dowd the producer was not in good shape at the time and neither were we.It was a huge disappointment and I felt at the time that my career in music may be finished, so down was I. 
Way back in 1972 after working for nine months to put the material together for the Argus album, I finally sat in the studio control room and listened back to the whole album and it reduced me to tears. I thought it sounded wonderful, although I wasn't sure how much of a "commercial" success it would be. It was a huge release after working for so long and hard wrestling mentally with very big themes which had been with me for a while. Wonderful moment, and that album is much loved and probably has sold pretty much as many copies as the rest of the Wishbone Ash catalogue put together.

You have formed other bands and experimented with different styles of music. How would you describe your music now?

MT:   In my early days in the 1960s, I did my apprenticeship playing other popular music of the day, very enjoyable.
In the early 1980s when Wishbone Ash had left me I got very into studio production and eventually recorded the basis of an album which a bunch of talented guys I was working with at the time.  We did do a few gigs as Wolfgang (Mozart's Christian name), but it was pretty apparent that the audience was not ready for a band which included a synth - they wanted Wishbone Ash type music, two lead guitars etc, so basically it ended up "not proceeded with".Those recordings did however form the basis of my solo album "Walking the Reeperbahn"
which was released later in the 90s.
I also got into doing gigs with the Blue Bishops during the 90s which got me back into live playing after quite an absence. They were a good band and I have stayed good mates with them, we get together now and again.

Are you going to continue touring with your band?

MT:   Yes, last year we recorded an album together - "Written in the Stars"  and that has given us the appetite to do more which I hope will happen next year. Obviously we have a good camaraderie in the band, they are wonderful characters and we will continue on both fronts, recording and also playing the old 1970s WA music, I might add with the spirit and in the way it was originally intended.

For more information and to book tickets click on the link:

Saturday, 1 October 2016

News: Welcome Daryl!

A very warm welcome to Daryl Whitehead, who has taken over the post of Programme Manager.

She has worked in the arts for fifteen years, having re-directed her career as a senior manager in the private sector. She has held programming and general/operations management roles in both performance venues and visual art galleries in the UK and Australia. She has been based in Devon for a few years now and most recent have worked at the Burton Gallery and Museum in Bideford and The Maltings in Farnham.

Daryl says: "I am interested in how art holds up a mirror to society and challenges our thinking as well as its ability to allow us to experience beauty and fun - which of course is different for everyone."

Daryl is enjoying living near the water again, having lived in Malta as a child, and grown up in Portsmouth.

We are very pleased that she has joined the staff at the Flavel, and hope that she enjoys working in our small, but perfectly formed Arts Centre!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Interview: Jo Harman

An Intimate Evening with Jo Harman - Voice and Piano Tour

Find out more about this talented, award-winning vocalist ahead of her performance on 15th September.

Growing up in rural Devon, were you exposed to a wide variety of different genres of music through your family and friends?

I was, not least the secondary school I went to (South Dartmoor) had a great arts tradition (comedian Josh Widdecombe and music artist Rosie Lowe are other alumni) but most of all I think I was influenced by my late father's record collection which was wide ranging but I particularly remember Cat Stevens, Beatles, Moody Blues and other 60s and 70s timeless artists. I also had a classical music education, playing bassoon during my teenage years. All that, together with my love of African/American music has no doubt shaped the artist I am today.

After the tragic loss of your father, you have said that you turned to music as a way of communicating your feelings. Did you have other plans before this sad event?

More than anything, his death made me determined to chase my dreams, or, perhaps it's more accurate to say to live in the reality of being true to myself. It's very possible I wouldn't have pursued a career in music otherwise. 

In what ways did your travels in India inspire you musically?

I taught myself guitar during that period but largely it helped me widen my outlook on life and explore myself; both fundamental to being a rounded artist and, more importantly, rounded person, perhaps.  

You have said that you do not consider yourself a blues singer, and perhaps we try to pigeon-hole artists too much, but is there any particular direction in which your music might develop?

I see all music as music so I set no particular bounds or parameters. As long as it's natural and sincere and not contrived it could develop any which way. My voice is my voice and there is no doubt it has a soulful and bluesy vibe, both by design and nature. The blues community adopted me which is something I'm very grateful of, of course. Happily my supporters seem to put up with my diversity which I'm very happy about. I just want to continue to make 'Jo Harman' records rather than records described by genre(s). 

You have said, ‘I want to tell my story’. Do you find connecting with your audience easier in smaller, more intimate venues?

Er, yeah I guess so but sometimes that mutual connection with large Festival audiences can be uplifting and empowering too. As long as my music reaches and connects, at some level, I'm happy, regardless of size or circumstance. 

To find out more and to book tickets, click on the link

Saturday, 30 July 2016

News: We're So Sorry To See You Go!

Sarah Hackford (Artistic Director) and Lisa Chandler (Marketing Manager) are sadly both leaving us this summer, after working with us for 10 years - virtually since the beginning of the Flavel Arts Centre.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for all their hard work and dedication that has contributed enormously to the Flavel becoming the vibrant Arts Centre that it is today, and also for being such great people to work with! 
We wish them both well, and bon voyage to Sarah, who is moving to Australia!


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Feedback: The Magic of Michael Bublé

A recent visitor to the Flavel had such an enjoyable evening listening to The Magic of Michael Bublé, that she took the time to contact us to tell us just that!

"Just to say we really enjoyed our evening at the Flavel on Friday night.  We are down in Devon on holiday and found your website. You have a lovely little theatre, we hope it continues offering great entertainment and we will certainly visit you when we are next in Devon."

Angela Walker

Friday, 20 May 2016

News: The Flavel is Such a Success - Every Town Wants One!

"Let everyone know how lucky they are to have you!" was the message delivered to the Flavel community arts and education centre recently by visitors from Crediton.

Three officers from Crediton came to the Flavel for a fact-finding session last week. They represented a group hoping to create a similar facility to the Flavel Centre in Crediton, and were led by Arts Centre Director, Rosemary Stephenson; they met with David Chapman (Flavel Trust Chair) and Christine Freeman (Flavel Treasurer).

The visitors had done their homework, and had collected facts and figures from five other similar venues, but the Flavel was top of their poll and the model they wished to imitate. So, the Flavel is not only a fantastic asset to Dartmouth, but it is also model that other Devon towns aspire to and hope to emulate.

"To my certain knowledge, this is the sixth Devon town to send a group to learn from the Flavel experience," said David Chapman. "Every town in Devon seems to want a Flavel! The key factors they like are the independent charitable trust, which belongs directly to the people of Dartmouth and surrounding villages; the purpose-built centre; the financial model ---and, of course, our great volunteers! Centres like those in Honiton and Teignmouth and many more owe a good deal to information gleaned from our present general manager, Sid Davies, and from former and present staff and trustees," he said.

The Crediton group-leader, Rosemary Stephenson, said they will continue to keep in touch with the Flavel, as they develop their scheme. "It was a really useful and inspiring visit," she said. "There are so many lessons to be learnt from how you created and run your very successful centre."