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  • nikolausdraycottar

Ukraine , a first mailing, and a new Folk Club

It’s been a very busy six months . The year began with an off the cuff mission to Ukraine to rescue my friends partner whilst simultaneously filming a documentary about the role of ‘Art in War’. It was wasn‘t the safest idea to carry out , bearing in mind that one of our passports was packed with past and current Russian visas. It was at height of Ukrainian paranoia about the very real threat of Russian saboteurs. We also had no time to get any press accreditation. Everyone advised against going ‘You‘re mad!’ but personally it was just something I had to do.

We were almost arrested by armed Ukrainian soldiers at least couple of times on the charges of being Russian saboteurs. At 3.00am in your pj’s in your hotel room surrounded by nervous men with machine guns was a particulary worrying time . Luckily we managed to keep calm and by that time we had my friends partner, a native Ukrainian, with us to talk them down and explain our presence. Trying to film a documentary during such a tempestuous time proved very tricky but got easier after we knew she was safe and the rescue side of things had been achieved. Filming the locals in a secret civilian militia base in an art gallery making camouflage nets was a high point. We encountered many inspirational Ukrainians along the way and just about managed to cobble together a feature. Since then though we’ve had some trouble though getting permission to show particular parts. Consequently as to whether this documentary will see the light of day is up in the air at the moment .

That adventure was followed closely in its heels by the formation of new Folk Club. The first of which was literally on the evening of the day I returned. It had been an idea for a while to start a music night in the vein of an acoustic folk club but with an emphasis on originals . The vision was to create a sanctuary and laboratory space for songwriters where they could air their material in a supportive engaged atmosphere. Most Folk Clubs you play at can have a very strong emphasis on the traditional and less so on new material. We wanted a night that swapped that emphasis around but kept that warmth and support of a traditional Folk Club. Luckily and almost unbelievably this idea found a kindred spirit and venue owner in Adrian Gains. The manager and owner of the Temperance Cafe in Leamington . It has a wonderful intimate music venue on the basement level. The first monthly night was Sold Out as was the second and third month. Amazing nights with incredible intimate performances with a pin drop crowd. We definitely felt and feel that we‘re onto something. The nights are just getting better and better and are already becoming the place to play as a musician and go as an eager ear.

I‘ve also had to undergo an intensive self training period in the subtle science of sound recording. I had a couple of funding knockbacks earlier in the year that scuppered an album recording midflow. Rather let though what was meant to happen lie dormant and stagnate I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to get this behemoth of a skill down myself. My most recent song ‘Someone better than Sunshine’ is the result of all this hard work. It’s my first top to toe recording project . I hope you like it . Please download off the website and stream stream away . Any support on this journey is most warmly welcomed . Additionally some new paintings are also in the pipeline so keep your coloured eyes peeled. This will also go out as a hopefully not too unwelcome mailing . I’ve not done one before. It does seem though that it will be part of a way ahead . Probably once a month at the most. It’s going to take a while to get better at writing so please pardon the clunk. If you would rather not receive then please unsubscribe, but I do think the year will continue to reveal times of interest. Any feedback or recommendations would be most welcome. Peace out brothers and sisters and fellow adaptations.

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