Monday, 23 April 2018

#MagnificentCork - Day 4 - The best yet



What a day...! Even by our standards, an absolute astoundingly Magnificent Grand Day at the Cork International Choral Festival.

Great weather + some pottering around Cork, some pottering around Jameson's Distillery + singing in an atrium to an attentive audience + winning the P.E.A.C.E. award (Awarded to the choir that best embraces the spirit of the Festival, and fulfils the intentions of the trophy's benefactors, the P.E.A.C.E. Movement) + being asked to sing with all the proper singers at the grand, last night Gala Performance + leading the singing along at the after Festival party.

Phew, we need a bit of a lie down as we attempt adjust to our humdrum 21st century existences and sort out the tour washing.

Thank you to everybody involved who made it such a brilliant weekend in so many, many ways.  It was a Magnificent craic!


Sunday, 22 April 2018

#MagnificentCork - Day 3


Another almost unbelievably sunny day in #MagnificentCork sees us sight seeing, absorbing culture, history and geography, and singing on a bandstand.



Saturday, 21 April 2018

#MagnificentCork - Day 2


Lots more walking around this lovely city getting our bearings and enjoying the sunshine.  

Midday Concerts to 100 school kids was an interesting experience for both parties.

More stuff to do today, including culture and history and geography.






Friday, 20 April 2018

Thursday, 19 April 2018

It's a long way to... Cork


A final parting thought before the blokes board their plane to voyage across the seas, that you can follow their adventures at these locations during their long weekend of spreading the good notes of BlokeSong at the Cork International Choral Festival on this map below.

More soon, when we reach the other side...!


Mascots are GO!


Big Kevin & Big Bob

It's not just the Blokes that are getting excited, the tour mascots are pretty up for it as well!  Here you can see Big Kevin & Big Bob having their Tour Photos taken looking suitably animated (well, at least Big Bob does...).

So, we wish them safe travels and parting thoughts as the blokes fly across the Irish Sea to represent our small corner of the county.


The singing blokes of Ashton Keynes in North North Wiltshire and beyond
“One of the most exciting choirs in the UK” Matt Swann 2015 Voices Now Festival Director The London Roundhouse

Garlanded with the “Audience Award” at the 2016 City of Derry International Choral Festival

Unlocking the Inner Minstrel by lowering the tone at http://themagnificentak47.com/ since 2008

Delighted to be attending the 2018 Cork International Choral Festival


Blog:  https://themagnificentak47.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter:  @magnificentak47
Facebook:  
https://www.facebook.com/themagnificentak47
Instragram:  
Sorry, but no, we've got to stop being sociable at some point, there's singing to be done!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

#MagnificentCork



Brace yourself #MagnificentCork - we're heading your way!


The Magnificent AK47 – appearing at the Cork International Choral Festival 2018
Singing away and blazing a trail around the place at these events

See this Google Map https://goo.gl/q8qAQd

The full Festival Programme can be found at https://issuu.com/corkchoralfest/docs/choral_2018_prog_aw_lr1.

And edited Magnificent highlights of the singing are:

Thursday 19th April
Bristol International Airport

Choral Trail: Cork Airport  14:15
Choral Trail: Costigan’s 19:00

Friday 20th April
Choir Meet & Greet: City Hall 11:00
Friendship Concert: Carrigtwohill Community 13:00
Choral Trail: Shelbourne Bar 19:00
Then, open for invitations and any decent offers…

Saturday 21st April
Guest performance:  National competition for Light, Jazz & Popular Music: City Hall 17:15

Choral Trail: Tequila Jacks 18:00
Festival Club: Clayton Hotel 22:30
Then, who knows where else & till what time….

Sunday 22nd April
Afternoons in the Atrium: Clayton Hotel 14:15
Then, open for invitations and any sensible offers

Monday 23rd April
Singing wherever we have the opportunity and with whatever remaining voices we still have!

Should you find any lost Magnificent bloke, please return to
The Maldron Hotel
John Redmond St, Shandon, Cork, T23 A9TF, Ireland
www.maldronhotelshandoncorkcity.com
+353 21 452 9200

Or simply return him to The White Hart Inn, The High Road, Ashton Keynes, North Wiltshire, England.

We are hoping for "quite a time..."

#MagnificentCork #lovechoral #alt.mvc


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Carried on up the Albert - what a cracker


Thank you to everyone at The Prince Albert in Rodborough, P.R. Stroud who made Saturday night such a great gig for us.   What a welcome with all the signs (see our Twitter feed).

A really GREAT venue!

And a great way to set us up for what is to come in the next few days... we're off on Tour again, don't you know - #MagnificentCork International Choral Festival.


Two sleeps till #MagnificentCork - Tour mascots have arrived


With just two official sleeps (might struggle on Wed night with the excitement...!) the Tour Mascots for our voyage to the Cork International Choral Festival have arrived just in the nick of time to somehow be given to two careful guardians to snuggle aboard the flight to Ireland.

But what can they be?  All will be revealed in the days to come when more about the trip is revealed.




Saturday, 14 April 2018

Carry on up The Albert #2



It might have escaped your notice (Notice #1 Notice #2 Notice #3 Notice #4 Notice #5 ...) that a certain gentlemen's singing group is slipping across the county line to perform their subversive odes to 21st mid-life angst, amongst other cheery ditties, in the People's Republic of Stroud's annex of Rodborough, way up on the hill (or way down if you are coming from Minchinhampton) at the rather wonderful Prince Albert public house.

It'll be a cracker as the blokes hone themselves for their upcoming visit to the Cork International Choral Festival to get ready for the "craic", so early appearance to reserve your space is advised.

Use this information to help you find your way:  Telephone 01453 755600, The Prince Albert, Rodborough Hill, Stroud, GL5 3SS, http://www.theprincealbertstroud.co.uk/.

Carry on #alt.mvc.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Fun postponed, but not for long



Come Hell or High water, or even Low Snow, we plant to fight our way through to (nearly) the top of Rodborough Hill near the P.R. of Stroud this coming Saturday 14th of April.

Should be a goodie and looking forward to seeing a packed out Albert Inn.  With all of us there might even be a bit of space for the audience...!


Sunday, 1 April 2018

The Magnificent AK47 as featured in The Sunday Times Magazine


It's always nice to get a bit of positive press coverage, and to be considered rather good by such an illustrious publication as The Sunday Times Magazine is even nicer to wake up to on a sunny Easter Morning as April dawns on us and the revelation that 'The Magnificent AK47-the poster boys of new wave #alt.mvc are going to be “Gigantic”!' is sprawled across the t'Interweb for all to read.

Whilst we shouldn't be totally surprised by the idea, it is quite a claim to be considered "poster boys" of anything, on multiple grounds - (1) the age of most of the blokes (2) the "look" of most of the blokes and (3) the general shambolic demeanour of the combination of 1 + 2, which somehow adds up to much more than 3...

Anyway, judge for yourself as you read the substance behind this outrageous claim - read more.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Busy start to our 10th Year



We keep pinching our collective selves at the thought that The Magnificent AK47 have been operating in one form or another since the Ashton Keynes Music Festival of 2008...

Emerging from that event, many participants of the original workshop inspired by the success of the session and the following triumph of the "Sing off" against with the "Divas" the next day, and buoyed up with the idea of continuing, enough blokes managed to keep things going to get through a tough period of the "Early Years".

Luckily we received tremendous support from the Festival, in particular the then Festival Director, Mr Graham Loveday and managed to just about stay afloat in terms of finances and enthusiasm, yet despite only meeting every six weeks or more, we gradually built up a small repertoire and word started to spread about something special happening in our corner of North North Wiltshire.

Little did we know what was about to come as more and more blokes started to turn up, mostly from outside the village, including blokes as far away as Swindon and Stroud.  These injections of new talent and enthusiasm started us on our arc of discovery to where we transcended from being just a bunch of blokes rehearsing in a school hall, to a bigger bunch of blokes rehearsing in the back room of the village pub, and then beyond.

Doubtless, there are many more stories to be told of the newbies and their infusion of new influences on the group, but suffice to say that more will be told in times to come as we generally spend the whole year wallowing in our longevity and many great adventures.

One thing to mention, is the huge variety of places that we have sung, from replica sailing ships to windmills, dark tunnels and grottoes, on cliffs and harboursides and so many other places in between that it is going to take two or three blog posts to cover them all.

Now we have already had three months of this celebratory year and managed to squeeze in a Boot Camp, Recording Session, a new album's worth of material on a new CD, a few other workshops and a couple of gigs and even had a gig called off.

Up coming are many more adventures over the course of the year, including a 10th Anniversary Tour to the Cork International Choral Festival in breezy south west Ireland, a big festival later in the summer and and even bigger event we are organising for the first weekend in October and much more.

So, stay tuned for more news of the pioneers of #alt.mvc

Friday, 30 March 2018

Getting ready for our first "proper" international tour


Who would have thought nearly 10 years ago when we first started getting what would become The Magnificent AK47, that we would have been going on tour...?  First of all we had our "Grand Days Out" then our first proper tour was to Cornwall where we were fed within an inch of our trouser capacity and nearly split them laughing during the "Judging Sessions".

Then we somehow managed to get invited to Northern Ireland for a tour to the City of Derry International Choral Festival where we won the "People's Prize" of the award they created just for us, the Audience Award.  A few top memories from that wonderful weekend are above and not all of them involve imbibing in the local liquors, we even do some singing!

Next we returned to Cornwall for another blisteringly good few days, and now, off the back of the Derry visit, we are returning to the isle of Ireland for our first "don't forget your passports" International trip to the Cork International Choral Festival, http://www.corkchoral.ie/.

With this in mind we have booked some extra rehearsal sessions to ensure we are in top form:

Wednesday April 4th SCHOOL HALL BOOKED 19.30 to 21.30   
Monday April 16th  WHITE HART 19:30 to 21:30


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Tickets available on the door


Just in case you haven’t got your tickets for tonight you can probably get some on the door tonight, but please don’t leave it too late.

See you there.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Would you buy a CD from these dodgy geezers?



Would you buy a CD from these two dodgy looking geezers??

The answer of course is "Yes!" and "Can I have more than one, please?"  
Much as this excited young man and his friends did the other night.



"So, how can I get my very own copy (or more)?" you ask yourself...

By going along to St Sampson's Church, Cricklade, North North Wiltshire and purchasing said items at our concert with ChoirJam this Saturday 17th March - tickets at http://themagnificentak47.com/tickets.html.

Simples.

It's here, and it is GIGANTIC!


What better way to celebrate your Tenth year of choirdom than releasing a record of your recent repertoire with Magnificent accompanying art work?!

Pedants amongst you (most of The Magnificent AK47...) will note that it's not actually a "record" like in the olden days, but actually a CD, increasingly like in the olden days, but we will let that pass and will wallow in the brilliant job done by our resident genius Art Meister and current Big Chief, his nibs, the Rt. Hon. Williams of Hicks Esq (P.R.o. S.) and the miraculous works of Mr Chris Samuel in managing to get 10 songs recorded on the one day, and Nick Beere of Mooncalf Studios for capturing our unique sound.

These collectors' items will be available on sale at our gig this Saturday 17th March with ChoirJam at St Sampson's Church, Cricklade and tickets can be obtain via our website or on the door at http://themagnificentak47.com/tickets.html.



Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Creative £Arts?!


It's in black and white in print so it must  be true...!  We are featured in the "Creative Arts" section of the very wonderful local Ripples Community magazine (page 29).  

Knowing The Magnificent AK47 as we do and when reading that phrase speedily, early in the morning and slightly running the two words together, one comes up with a slightly different phrase that that perhaps sums up the blokes rather nicely, although perhaps ones should insert the phrase "young at heart" in the middle, if you take our meaning.

Either way, the champions of BlokeSong will be stirring themselves into action at St Sampson's Church this Saturday 17th March with the vibrant community choral group that is the rather wonderful ChoirJam all the way from Keynesham in that there North Somerset.

It is sure to be a terrific show with such enthusiastic performers, and, er, us, so don't delay, get your tickets whilst you still can from http://themagnificentak47.com/tickets.html and you will be able to be part of another exciting moment in Magnificent History, but more next time.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Cracker in Cricklade


Loyal Magnificent devotees who might be distraught at the "Snow No Show" situation the other weekend and missing their favourite all bloke multi-hatted singing machine in action need fret no more as we are pressed back into action this coming Saturday 17th March in not so far away Cricklade.

And what a cracker in Cricky it should be with a return concert with the rather wonderful ChoirJam, all the way from North Somerset to the darkest recesses of North North Wiltshire.  They are a hugely entertaining mixed choir with an infections energy and the perfect compliment to the blokes...

Last time our two choirs performed was the "Away leg" down their way in sunny Keynesham and was a truly fabulous evening and we are expecting even more from the "Home leg" at the majestic St Sampson's Church in Cricklade.

Tickets are still available, very reasonably priced at http://themagnificentak47.com/tickets.html and there will be a bar for your refreshment so we very much hope to see you there to join in the fun.



Friday, 2 March 2018

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Sad news and a fond farewell


It was with great sadness and no little shock that we heard of the passing of the wonderful, amazing and inspirational woman we knew as Vanessa Lafaye.

Vanessa was a phenomenally big hearted lady and plays a very special part in the history of The Magnificent AK47, as our very first ever gig was at the "Sing for Laughs" event she organised and invited us to perform at, so many years ago.  We loved the event so much we returned on two more occasions and picked up the phrase "the best Old Boy Band in the land" from her - a true accolade!

She has other connections with our village, through her appearance at the 2017 Ashton Keynes Music and Arts Festival at the first ever Creative Writing Event, which was largely inspired by knowing her and her agreeing to come along to talk about the wonderful books she had written.  She made it such a brilliant evening which was just typical of her.

She has been so inspiring to so many people through her work as an author, choir leader and singer as well as battler against cancer, and just a genuinely great human being.

It was no secret that she had not been well for many years, and not a surprise to her of passing, but the world is a lot sadder for her departure, but a whole lot richer for her having been here.

We will honour our memory of her and dedicate some of our work to this remarkable lady.

Our thoughts go out to James, her husband, and everyone else who was touched by the magic of this very special lady.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Carry on up The Albert


The legend that is The Prince Albert, in that there People's Republic of Stroud, with the legends that are The Magnificent AK47...?  For an evening of subtle humour and high jinks...?  With the group being "paid" directly in Beer Money...? And the audience have to pay to get out...?  What could possibly go wrong?!

Here's to the lads' first official gig of the year (after their first "unofficial" one the other week, more later).

Early arrival and arranging to not have to drive home is advised for all the usual reasons.

More info from their website at http://www.theprincealbertstroud.co.uk/.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Friday, 9 February 2018

How do The Magnificent AK47 make such a big sound?


We are often asked by other choirs, jealous of our thick, rich, creamy "bottom end", how we manufacture that magnificent noise that is the "sound of testosterone".   

The answers simple really, to capture that sound that awesome, we use Big Mics.



Prepare yourself for sounds of giants.... 
Gigantic - coming to a music playing device near you soon.
#alt.mvc at its best.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The "Feet Mystery" revealed, a bit



The mysterious posting from the other day is revealed!  But to explain, there is a good reason for it...

It all happened during the recording of our "tricky" second LP (Long Player, google it kiddies) in an effort to keep the blokes nice and comfy and not make the floorboards creak too much, although there are suspicions that it might have been knees making that noise at the Boot Camp.

"And how did it go?", you ask, well, we'll find out soon when we all hear the playback, but suffice to say, some of it was quite Magnificent, if not Gigantically Good.

Thanks to Bill H for the pic and cartoon.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Just what the Magnificent heck is going on here?



It was just a regular Saturday afternoon but some strange things are happening in the Ashton Keynes School Hall... gigantic things, even

An explanation will follow... as soon as we have one!

Friday, 19 January 2018

WARNING!: These men are Live and dangerously entertaining



Last seen around these parts with the full compliment of Spooky Men on their night off in the The White Hart, Stephen Taberner, better known as the whimsical mastermind behind the Spooky Men's Chorale,  offers for public amusement a musical wrestle to the death with his beloved double bass B, which typically involves a highly charming collection of songs, some moody, some funky, and some downright ridiculous.

For this pointless spectacle he will be joined by fellow spooky man Jack Fitzgrerald Sice (Ukelele/Guitar/Vocals), who has seemingly mastered the difficult art of not only sounding beautiful in his own right, but subtly enhancing whatever else is happening at the time, and has a fantastic beard....which may ultimately involve the recruitment of the glorious and/or unformed musical talents of the audience.

The pair are due to be appearing in The White Hart on Tuesday 23rd January with the fun start some time after 19:30 (your timings & mileage may vary, profits can go up and down, etc etc) so toddle along for some seriously good entertainment for so early in the week!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Language of Life- Say It with Sound



We may be a little late to the party and informing you of this, but one of our number tipped us off about this particularly interesting set of lectures from the BBC.

Sophie Scott, a professor of neuroscience at University College London explores how and why the human voice evolved to become the most versatile sound producer in the natural world and how our vocal cords can open and close more than a thousand times a second and how we can use our throats for breathing, eating and communicating.

The explanation of how we hear is fascinating and makes you wonder how it manages to work at all with so many moving parts!

See and hear it from the BBC website at Royal Institution Christmas Lectures - 2017: The Language of Life: 1. Say It with Sound but hurry, there are only a few days left.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Sing!Sing!Sing! New podcast


Just released by a certain Mr James Sills, he of Bebington Bittermen, Spooky Men's Chorale, Singing in the Shed and BlokeFest fame, to name but a few of his musical personas, is a brand new podcast dedicated to, er, you guessed it, singing!

At first sight (and sound) it looks mighty professional and a really good vibe resource to have in the singing community.

Don't delay, go to http://www.jamessillsmusic.co.uk/podcast.html or www.singsingsing.net or https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sing-sing-sing/id1334376315 or point your podcast device to search for "singsingsing" and enjoy away, and who knows, maybe you'll hear some more familiar voices on future episodes...

Sunday, 14 January 2018

To MVC or to #alt.mvc? That is the question

A question that members of The Magnificent AK47 often get asked by people who have never heard us or seen us is, "what sort of music do you do" or a variation being "how do you describe what you do?" and often after a long rambling response attempting to describe what we do and how we do it this leads on to a conclusion by the questioner along these lines of,  "ah, so, you're a male voice community choir are you?" and further explanation of how that is not quite right ensues.

As the group enters its TENTH year of operation this sort of questioning still poses a great deal of head scratching on behalf of the questionee who will often result to "well, something like that, but not quite..., yes..., similar..., in that we are all male..., a sort of choir..., based in a community..., and we use our voices, but...", or maybe "we are a male voice choral group" or perhaps more appealing to the slightly devious, cheeky, naughty inner school boy lurking within most of the members of the group, "we are a sort of alternative male voice choir in the community".

So, how would YOU describe The Magnificent AK47 to the uninitiated?  Does #alt.mvc do it for the modern generation?



Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Georgian Singing show in London this weekend


This recently received via the e-grapevine and serial Georgian singing event organiser, Michael Bloom:

"This is to remind you that the choir of the Georgian Cathedral in London, led by Malkhaz Erkvanidze, will be giving a concert on Sunday January 14th 2018 starting at 2 pm. (please note start time) at St. John's Church, Hyde Park Crescent, London W2 2QD. Flyer attached. There will also be supporting groups including members of Malkhaz's choir in Georgia "Sakhioba" and the London Georgian Choir "Maspindzeli". 

Tickets will be available by email from:  tvepkhvadze@gmail.com  

or by going to:


or at the door. The concert is a fund-raising event for a new Scientific Research Centre of Georgian Traditional Folk Music in Tbilisi, to give Georgian music, as Malkhaz puts it, "new blood, a new restart." It sounds an exciting project.

I hope to see you at the concert. Malkhaz is a very professional choir leader and the concert should be well worth attending.

With best wishes for the New Year,

Michael Bloom"

Should be a fascinating show if you can make it along.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Back in harness for Boot Camp


Drill Sergeant: I don't know but I've been told...
Blokes: I don't know but I've been told

Drill Sergeant: The AK blokes sing deep and bold
Blokes: The AK blokes sing deep and bold

Drill Sergeant: Some of them are big and strong
Blokes: Some of them are big and strong

Drill Sergeant: Some even remember the words of their songs
Blokes: Some never, erm, [mumble] worms of their gongs

All: Sound-off; 1 - 2; Sound-off; 3 - 4; Sound off; 1 - 2 - 3 - 4; 1 - 2, 3 - 4!

Helping the blokes get in to peak form for their upcoming planned recording of a 2nd LP's worth of material, those without sick notes or those feeling just about well enough, will be gathering in Ashton Keynes School Hall from 10:00 onwards for what promises to be an interesting day learning what they don't know about the songs they have been singing for the last few months.