The place to start – nice to meet youThe news – catch up on the latest stories, shows and projectsThe blog – indulge a few personal blatherings on various dead creative topicsThe press gubbins – grab the contact details, the bio and some goofy showbiz picsThe moving pictures – watch a selection of behind the scenes and music videosThe commissions – discover Momo's soundtrack workThe music – explore a little world of splendidly tuneful electro-beat tomfoolery
The brand new, long-awaited project from south coast creative, producer and future seeker, Timo Peach, is… coming. But ahead of announcing what he’s been up to in the shed for two years, the bloke from Momo:tempo is launching a little campaign to ask people from the many worlds of fandom, across music, arts and science – how has the most visionary storytelling genre shaped them? And you can help – by ‘gramming, Tweeting, posting and sharing to #myfi @momotempo.
Science Fiction, it is said, used to be rather looked down on. Seen as silly. Considered lower art. But not anymore. Why? This is a question Timo Peach has pondered a bit lately – and now he’s engaging all the minds he can make contact with to hear their stories of how different visions of reality changed their own.
“I’m doing it as a beginning to sharing what else I’ve been up to in the studio since Thespionage,” he says, “it’s a little relevant.
“And as for what counts as scifi? That is a big question. Probably the flip side of this big question.”
Angels and pins.
Many of the followers and family of Momo:tempo and Timo’s work are imaginistas of one kind or another, regularly working in or celebrating science fiction’s many worlds, and so taking the music project into space was a natural fit, he explains.
“All the solar winds seem to confluence on me heading to the stars with the next LP, and it’s lead me further than I imagined I’d go. But the starting point seemed to be listening to the heavens before blasting umpteen thousand tons of creative lift into trying to get into orbit with anything – be like a radio telescope before chemical rocket. And so it wasn’t hard to find people to ask about what science fiction has meant to them – and what it’s meant is many deep, quickly personal things. What I’ve heard already is moving and interesting and oddly relevant.
“People draw the line in slightly different places about the nature of scifi, but all agree it is trying to say something. Illuminate something. Shed new light on the human condition in ways other more direct storytelling can’t always reach so affectingly. It uses the possibilities of science and technology to often look forward, but sometimes sideways, at where history might go or might have gone.
“Science fiction is the great What If. And it’s great effect has been far from accademically philosophical – it’s made people feel more human. More themselves. More… envisioned.”
As Timo discovered just from this first collection of responses, people have found their value systems, their careers, their talents, their friends though science fiction.
“Through books, film, TV, games, the genre has inspired people. It may start as fantastical escape, but it ends up changing lives. I’ve quickly heard testimony of people relating to characters and stories becuase growing up they felt like outsiders – and scifi showed them was normal, or cool, or interesting. And it lead people often to find other people who explored similar themes in their own life. But scifi fandom is a very broad church – it’s not all about picking over the highest resolution geeky details of things. That’s only part of the fun.”
Utopias and dystopias.
But is there a relevance to now, beyond the fan community? Timo seems to think so.
“As a friend of mine, writer Peter John Cooper, commented on the thread under my little launch film, ‘Sci-fi always comes to the fore when the world is in trouble” – and we are living into some fearsomly interesting times on planet Earth. It’s what has lead me into the subject so deeply these last two years.”
But Timo’s background made science fiction in general a natural fit for him to explore, even before the acceleration of techno-social and political 21st century life into everyone’s news feeds.
“I grew up, famously, with scifi. It’s in the blood. My mother was an original Eagle reader and Trekker and brought me up with a wide-eyed sense of wonder on the world as a result. So the genre has always felt as much part of me as music. Not that this stops me feeling ignorant,” he adds. “The more I’ve met real nerdles over the last five years or so, the more I realise how much I don’t know. These folk go deep!”
But responding to Myfi doesn’t have to go deep, he says. It’s open to everyone.
“Talk to me. I’m building a colourful little wall of human voices on the subject. Share your experience of science fiction. Snap an image that seems to fit, post a quote, a comment, a memory with it and the hashtag #myfi to @momotempo on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, to tell us how scifi has become part of you.”
“In times like ours, I’m interested to hear how your vision of the future is being shaped.”
The results will be regularly reposted in Momo’s blog, the Lingo pages, and across his channels in an ongoing exploration of themes and experiences. And the aim is to create an exhibition of posters.
“The next project will involve a physical space, and part of that I would like to make a testimony to as many human experiences of visionary storytelling as possible. People’s images and quotes pulled together into a spectrum of, well, vision.”
Momo joins the storytelling theatre partners to bring a sonic dimension to their exploration of Poole’s maritime history, and finds that workshops with volunteers can be a resonnant way to tread out the truth of a story. As their new film shows, the results connected magically with their audiences.
Momo:tempo may be the compositional production house of Timo Peach, but he has always enjoyed doing a bit more than sitting behind a keyboard – and one Heritage Lottery-funded production for Poole Maritime Festival 2017 got the South Coast creative literally feeling his way through the writing of its score and sound. And it brought together old friends and new.
Valise Noire Storytelling Theatre’s project Cargo aimed to bring alive the heritage of an ancient south coast location, tapping into the human stories of relationship with the sea in Poole. Commissioned to time with both the town’s biggest celebration of its seafaring roots and with European Maritime Day, it pulled together community and schools participation, live shows on Poole Quay with a 32-foot Baltic Trader, and an exhibition at Lighthouse, the UK’s leading arts centre outside of London. An endeavour that all involved felt tapped into something deep in the local identity. Something that seemed to resonnate with local human life.
As Momo himself discovered when approached by regular creative partners and chums Michele O’Brien and Hazel Evans, while the idea of the sea rings deep with people from the area, the project unlocked new appreciations of the human trail to where we are now, by using some affectingly experiential devices. And it worked on him too, in the process of writing and compiling music and sound for Cargo.
“History was lived. Felt. Trodden through.” he says. “We’re odd creatures in that we easily seem to forget we are visceral – things come alive for us when interact physically. And walking through the discovery of the physical layout of Cargo helped to bring it alive for me. Those workshops helped us really feel what was in it, and it bound the team together. And in the end, the audiences to the truth in the performances.
“It’s says as much about the approach of Valise Noire as it does the subject matter, I think” he adds.
FROM BOOKS TO BOWLINES
Storyteller and actor Michele and performance illustrator and writer Hazel, along with producer, poet and youth champion Colin Philimore, first spent a lot of time in the academic business of researching the broadbrushstrokes of Poole’s history, hoping to, along the way, unearth some of the human treasure of the personal stories shaped and caught up in maritime life in Dorset. Their aim was to help to “bring Poole’s maritime heritage out of the archives” for a wider audience to reconnect with. Delving into the work of Poole Museum and Dorset History Centre, the pair unearthed hundreds of letters, ships log details and historic moments.
“We found so many beautiful, wonderful details of people’s lives as they were affected by life surrounding the sea” says Michele. “And having the privilege of handling some of those artifacts and memories ourselves really brought it alive. So it naturally felt to us as though this should be very much an experience of the senses for everyone involved – audiences and players.”
The next stage of developing the project was to take first selections of content and creative ideas around it into schools. Always, they say, a daring way to road test any theatre.
“As a storyteller, I’m very used to an intimate kind of audience experience” Michele explains, “and any street performer or theatre actor will tell you how much a good spirit of interaction from those you’re performing to can really make the whole experience. Well children just give it to you straight, don’t they? They soon tell you if what you’re doing doesn’t grab their imaginations – but when it does, boy do they get into it. The schools programmes were a slightly scary but brilliant stage of Cargo‘s development. We had a ball.”
Valise Noire is used to shaping experiences that ring true for both adults and children, with their 2013 production, The girl and the shoes, created as a ‘double-sided fairytale’ – told once for a younger audience, and then again for the grown-ups, unearthing some of the themes below the surface. With Cargo, exploring the idea of themes above and below the surface seemed to flow together into a world of human experience that people of all ages really got.
“Inner and outer worlds is something I explore a lot in my own work,” says Hazel. “and the symbolism of the sea is so rich with meaning – I think there is something primal it taps into in all of us, as we try to explore our inner truth in a noisy outside world. But we knew that, just like memories, feeling this truth could be triggered by little details of sensory experience.”
“The ships brought such new experiences to everyone connected with them,” says Michele.”They brought exotic, wondrous things like spices to the shores of old Albion, and they took people away from home, out into the weather and the bigness of things.”
Timo concurs that the setting for Cargo is rich with themes and ideas to connect with. And it’s felt more and more personal to him.
“My father had much more of an affinity with the sea than I did – he just weirdly loved tall ships. Even though, like a true “ruler of the King’s nay-vee” from his beloved Gilbert & Sullivan, he barely set foot on a boat” he grins. “But the sea rings with such echoes of the past, I’ve been feeling the salt in my blood more over recent years and an annual little sailing trip around the local waters with friends always quickly reminds me what a visceral experience life at sea just is. You’re at the mercy of not only the elements but your own preparedness. If that’s true for a recreational weekend bobbing about in the Solent with chums, with plenty of wine and cheese and homemade flapjack on board, piled beside the chartplotter and the GPS, imagine a whole life of it centuries ago, attempting to do regular business through it.
“From the big drama of being separated from each other by great distances, or great forces beyond our control – the sea itself, and culture and politics – to the tiny, supremely human moments of inventories of goods, or little notes to loved ones, or garments and everyday tools… life with the oceans has shaped my own country so much especially it seems to be right there below the surface, running through our shared emotional bloodstream” he says.
“In a sense, all we had to do, was tap into it honestly.”
Having brought stories of the sea barrelling into a series of lively school performances, the next stage for Valise Noire was to shape that initial content into something tangible that could be shared in wider public, as part of Poole Maritime Festival.
FROM CONCEPT TO QUAYSIDE
Valise Noire put a call out for volunteers to join in the workshopping up of some celebratory performances of all that they had been learning, exploring and beginning to share with the schools. For them, having players help to work out just what shape those experiences on Poole Quay would take was central. And Mr Peach got involved from the beginning.
“By the time we got to the weekends of workshopping, we had some first musical themes on the board that we’d already had super feedback from with the schools work. We also had a raft of voice recordings from letters and books, along with the idea of life above and below the sea’s surface, so I had a fair bit in my mind when we rocked up to the Lighthouse rehearsal rooms and met each other as a new team of performers, to begin shaking it all down. And to begin with I simply kept all that in the back of my mind and joined in as any other volunteer, as Michele and Hazel walked us into feeling comfortable in our performance skins.
“I tapped into my inner drama student and, y’know, muddled through” he says flatly.
From developing types of movement to planning out sequences of character portrayal and a loose narrative, the workshops formed a series of set pieces depicting key moments in maritme heritage, broadly dividing the experience between a human sense of life above the waves, and a more symbolic sense of ocean life below the sea surface.
One of the motifs was the Merman – a character derived from a recovered relic of the Swash Channel wreck. Remains of a 17th century Dutch merchant ship were found on the sand and shingle sea bed just outside Poole Harbour in the 1990s, but the raising of the giant rudder in 2013 with its carved face of ‘the merchant’, and of another wooden figurehead, ‘the merman’ unlocked characters for Hazel and Michele in the early approach of their storytelling of Cargo – and in the schools work, it is the merman who comes alive with a magical sense of ‘tales from the ocean floor’.
“While Timo sort of represents the Merchant in the final performance – the figure of pompous human endeavour above the waves – the Merman symbolises the voice of the sea. So we started by writing a kind of message in a bottle from this otherworldly character,” explains Hazel, “saying it was time to reveal his stories and tell his tales. And while it was an exciting way to trigger younger imaginations, it also helped us feel our way into a wider sense of the sea itself having a voice. Kind of asking us to explore our relationship with the sea today.”
As the performance design came together, the 30 minute presentation shaped into an interuptive experience to an unsuspecting public on Poole Quay. Beginning with an elderly cargo rigger arriving and tying up as any such vessel might have done centuries ago, an otherworldly arrival of human figures lead a procession from the bustle and life of historic human port business to life below the waves in a conjoured shipwreck, to meet echoes and creatures of the depths.
As Timo explains, the ghostly figures arrested attention, but the workshopped movements between different historic tableaus acted like windows onto Poole’s past.
“It was almost like augmented reality,” he says. “As if the people on the quay that evening and afternoon had swiped their phone screens to see back through history what had been ‘normal’ everyday life in the past on the very same spot. But those all-white dressed figures didn’t stay distant, they interacted with the bemused watchers – and it really seemed to work. People engaged. There was a spot of wonder there as we rocked up aboard Queen Galadriel in drifting smoke.”
Piling up props in the roadspace as the characters disembarked – dock workers and ships’ crew unloading barrels and boxes and sacks as ladies in fine dresses paraded around them – the audience was then presented with artifacts and samples of cargo from times past, as the players opened the boxes and invited people to smell spice pouches and tea, hear letters and voices of memories from the archives and read some of the hundreds of poems sealed up like Georgian letters by schoolchildren from across Poole.
All still using gestures only, the players lead a parade ‘off to sea’ where the Tudor march plunged into life below the waves, ending in the twilight at the just-refurbished Sea Music sculpture, to sounds of musician Fiona Barrow‘s melifluous improvised violin, and a call to embrace a notion of the sea’s own life and livelyhood.
“Now, street theatre is a random experience,” says Timo. “and turning up on Poole Quay out of the blue, as we all did, with me perhaps most conspicuous in an especially elaborate and frilly ensemble, designed beautifully by Hazel to evoke the faint absurdity of historic merchant superiority… well, I didn’t know quite what reaction I and we would get. Art can arrive like something from another planet into everyday life – in some ways, just as it should” he smiles.
“But as odd as the spectacle of Cargo will have seemed to everyone who saw it, the symbolism of it seemed to do its job. A lot of people felt something in it – even with me looking as gloriously daft as I did in the middle of it. People felt the humanity in our reminder of our connection to the sea. And to this day, hearing the musical sketches and impressions in our first itteration of Cargo, I still feel moved by it, somewhere in my own depths. The stories are affecting, and everyone in the brilliant little team who brought it alive felt it. And so did those sharing the moment with us.”
From the stories of separation, the apparent injustice of many deportations and convictions, and the maritime connection to slavery, to the simple economic histories of fishing grounds in the north Atlantic, human life was found in the details, for performers, writers and audience. And Momo feels grateful to have been part of this first exploration of Cargo.
“I am thankful, as ever, to not simply get to work with two such wonderful creative chums as Michele and Hazel, such great talents for storytelling and world-invoking, as well as the ever inspirational creative human champion, Colin. And of course to meet the great commitments to art that are our team, Hilary, Jackie, Jenny and Naomi, as well getting to hear touches of Fiona’slovely work accenting my own, and getting to work with Dorset art tech hero, Jo Myles. But especially to be part of this story in particular. It did quietly get to me.
As former Mayor of Poole Councillor Xena Dion, who I know was instrumental in helping Cargo find its place in the Martime Festival, said to me: “every time we ask Poole people what matters to their sense of identity here, their maritime heritage comes top.” It may not sound a surprise, but that it is so near the surface of people’s consciousness is worth listening to.” concludes Timo.
“While the final music arrangements shared on the Soundcloud playlist are like loved demos, ahead of possible evolutions of the show around the world, with live players, revisiting the mixes was still strangely emotional. And I wonder if it’s because I still feel the humanity of these stories just below my own surface, and of how this heritage actually connects us to the imperitives of now, and of the fearsome voyages of human life looking forward.
“I think what resonnated for me personally, in the end, was a sense of connectedness. Of how connected we are to the history, the heritage, of martime life – of the people who forged and lived it in previous eras – but also to the sea itself. The organism of it. The need to work as part of that natural system. Protect it, champion it – and celebrate our place in it.
“This is a very vital part of our current point in history. In our social, economic, natural history – to appreciate in new ways how everything is connected, that we might live more consciously and perhaps, in celebration, mark out a 21st century new world in all these things.”
WATCH THE EDIT OF CARGO’S FIRST PERFORMANCE:
WATCH MR PEACH SHARE A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT HIS MUSIC WRITING FOR CARGO:
New Dorset safety initiative Coastwise encourages younger explorers to enjoy the Jurassic beaches more safely, thanks to an invitation from Love Love Films to local songwriting character Timo Peach.
If there’s one thing that leaps to mind when visitors and locals alike think of Dorset, it is the coast line – the county’s portion of the famous ‘Jurassic Coast’. But such a dramatic stretch of beaches, cliffs, marine life and geological history can harbour its hazzards for careless visitors. So, as avid champions of local creative and social life, when the team at Bournemouth production company Love Love were approached by Dorset Coast Forum about creating a new film to help children remember the essentials of coastal play, they jumped at the chance to get involved.
Bridget Betts, Dorset Coast Forum Coordinator explained “The Dorset coast is a fantastic place to visit and explore but unfortunately there can be dangers at the beach and along our coastline. We see news headlines where parts of the Jurassic coast have come down, people have got stuck by avoiding signs or children have been taken out to sea on inflatables. We therefore decided to produce an animated film that would deliver safety messages together in a fun and different way”
The team’s response was to design a cast of characters to lead youngsters around the points to remember.
Lead animator Sunny Clarke states: “It was really fun creating the different characters. They all have their own personalities and individuality. Creating different animations for them all was really interesting – so the lobster moves differently to the dog and the seagull is always getting into scrapes before finding a way out of trouble by following the advice of the song, we really hope the children enjoy the characters as much as we enjoyed creating them”
STRIKING THE RIGHT NOTE, FINDING A RIGHT SILLY SONGWRITER
To bring this to life musically, the team thought of Momo:tempo, and the voice characterisations of Mr Peach.
“As a Dorset boy, I felt I couldn’t turn down the chance to be involved,” says Timo. “Working with the Love Love gang is always super fun and they invited me in at an early stage to consider first the 20 key messages to get across in the songwriting and also the key characters who would be singing it, as it were. Probably not something all composers and producers would expect to be asked to do, but it didn’t seem an odd request between Love Love and Momo” he grins.
From a panama-sporting posh octopus to a starfish that sounds like one of the Mitchell brothers, the bloke from Momo created voices to help differenciate the colourful characters on screen that the creative team had come up with. And that was before getting to the music itself.
“Sitting around in the writers room working out scenarios from the team’s initial character designs and storyboard was immense fun. How we managed to keep in the starfish farting is still a marvel of creative conviction I feel” laughs Timo, “but then I had to go away and come up with an actual tune. And one that could somehow carry twenty different safety messages.”
Timo’s inspiration came from a week on a Dorset beach of his own.
“The lovely first lady of Momo and I were celebrating a rather special anniversary with a week in a beach hut at Christchurch last year, and the weather happened to be glorious. So I sat on the sand in the twinkling sunshine and tried to picture these marine characters communicating something of the life all around me there that summer. Once I’d come up with a basic hook I couldn’t stop humming, and an idea of something inclusive to the songwriting approach, I just had to craft in all the information as rhythmically and entertainingly as possible. Before going back to the studio and working out how the production and voices would really sound all together.”
“It was just the sort of three minute colourfully daft challenge I can’t resist” he adds.
The full results of his and the team’s work were unveiled to key partners and schoolchildren at a launch event in June 2017. The children were tested on the safety messages and the song seemed to help cement the key safety messages to remember when visiting the coat and seaside. The animation will be shown in coastal visitor centers around the UK, schools and numerous educational training platforms and programmes.
Rhiannon Jones from the Dorset Coast Forum said: “We LOVE it!!! It’s sooooo good – really brilliant work. It’s so catchy and the animation is really funny. I can’t wait to get it out there.”
And if you’d like to learn the song, to be ready for a test on coastal safety at a moment’s notice, here are the lyrics:
Let’s go! (let’s go)
And be (and be)
Where the squiggly line of the land
Meets the sea.
We’ll be your hosts
In this environment we like to call The Coast!
Wonderful life we can see
If we share it safely.
We leave (we leave)
We always check to see just what
The weather will be.
Sunscreen and shoes (and food!)
And a hat, a mac, a rucksack…
What we choose will
Help us prepare for a great day, in every way.
There may be rockpools,
There may be sand,
Between the shoreline and the land.
So here’s what to make sure you understand
Before we rush out and explore:
If you have eyes, then look!
Look where you tread –
Don’t touch anything dead!
Look at the cliffs and rocks –
Don’t go having your nosh
Where you’ll likely get squashed.
Look at the waves and tide –
If it’s blowing a gale,
Jumping in is a fail!
Look at the whole world a while –
And in an emergency,
999’s what you dial.
It’s always what you dial.
Stay sun safe (sun safe!)
Enjoy the surf, but
Always swim with a mate
In sight of the lifegaurd.
And don’t fight a rip current,
That’s, like, way too hard.
A world of adventure there’ll be
If we explore it safely.
Wear a lifevest; watch for drift.
Don’t follow stray pets off a cliff.
In your wellies or on a skiff,
Don’t ignore what you need to explore:
If you have eyes, then look!
Fossils and history –
Look for the landscape clues –
Don’t sink like lead
And don’t dig over your head.
Watch how the wildlife lives –
But don’t get a jellyfish caught
In your hair or your shorts…
Look for the safety signs!
And in an emergency,
999’s what you dial –
Always dial 999.
Written, performed and produced by Timo Peach, the bloke from Momo:tempo
And if you’d like to download the track for free, to drive your family mad in the car on the way to the beach, you can find it right here:
Hosting Jazz By The Sea Festival’s celebration of global musical influences for his second year, the bloke from Momo got to meet five acts across one swealtering day in June, in Lighthouse Poole’s Sherling Studio. But, getting more involved with the festival this year, Mr Peach admits that at one point the finale show demanded a little extra creative thinking – producing a few additional sweats.
A week of music across Bournemouth and Poole in the heart of the south coast. That was the aim of the third year of the Bournemouth Jazz Festival – rebranding in 2017 to Jazz By The Sea. And what a week it was, with some forty venues hosting all manner of bands and music, exploring the broad spectrum of jazz. From headline names and spaces, such as James Taylor Quartet at Mr Kyps, Incognito at Canvas and Radio 2’s Clare Teal in Lighthouse Poole’s concert hall, to a wealth of talent from the area popping up in music venues, bars and cafés almost everywhere, it seemed. Swing, blues, beats and bebop and consumate improv chops on display at every turn. Tom Gwyther even spent five days driving a jazzmobile around town, stopping for regular lunchtime recitals at Bournemouth University and showcasing musical skills from the branded back of a truck.
And as a bit of a finale to the sunshine-filled week, Timo Peach was invited to host this year’s selection of names to bring musical flavours and heritage together from around the world, The World Jazz Jamboree. And it signalled a deeper involvement in the festival for him this year.
“I really enjoyed meeting new names to me at last year’s Jambo,” he says, “and I felt drawn to accept the team’s kind invitation to join them in putting together the 2017 festival. It just seemed like a natural thing for Momo to help encourage.”
JAZZ BIG BRAND, BABY
Although public duties would take Mr Peach to the stage as host, creative energies for this year he restricted to brand developmental, rather than musical, with Momo:typo shaping the new logo, messaging and outline campaign for Jazz By The Sea.
“I’d love to bring the Momo:tempo Electro Pops Orchestra’s new line-up to the festival, ” he grins, ” but this year didn’t seem like the right moment for this, for me. You can spread yourself too thin with excitement. Or I certainly can. With other work in development in the studio, I’ve yet to put the wheels back on the live shebang for Momo, and it felt more the thing to help shape a new visual chapter for the festival – a fun opportunity to help the team take the vibe of the week up a notch. A great invitation to make a new name for itself with, well, a new name! Building nicely on the success of the first two years. It was an invitation I couldn’t resist from Gerry.”
Founder Gerry Clarke spearheaded the formulation of the third year, drawing on a rich network of south coast based musical talent and unearthing some gems from out of town, Timo reflects.
“Gerry is the engine of the festival and brings a lifetime of entrepreneurial energy to it. And this year really tapped into the network of venues and musicians to bring a growing sense of shared party across town.”
The visual vibe drew deliberately on the most obvious references – Blue Note-style LP covers. And for the press launch in March, the team produced 12″ folders and content.
“Well, press launches should be fun. And I had a hunch everyone would love the big record format,” says Timo. “And this is a still fairly new jazz festival. I felt the thing to nail clearly was that tone – a classy but graphic sense of jazz. It helps to place people unambiguously and build a basic sense of qualification to build on and play with in coming years. Not unlike writing a score – help people feel just what’s going on before you begin to subvert the story. And what’s going on, is jazz, baby.”
WORLD ARTISTS, MAN
“And then there is the World Jazz Jamboree – and once again, I got to be a kid in a sweet shop. ..And also, for a little while there, a grown-up in a sweat box.”
Moving to Lighthouse Poole for 2017, the Jamboree took place in a setting that all musicians subsequently loved playing. Although one of the artists in particular did earn a bit of a story out of the experience, as Timo explains.
“In the heatwave of this week’s weather, we not only tested the comfort of the wonderful but un-airconned Sherling Studio, we had traffic challenges before folk even arrived” he grimmaces,” which for a host could be a worrying development. The M3 motorway was allegedly closed for some of the morning and then… well, then our early evening name had his band half marooned by buckled train tracks.”
Cuban Violinist and composer Omar Puente was due to bring songs from his ecclectic and deeply personal new LP, Best Foot Forward. Due to open the two evening sessions, following the infectious township grooves of incredibly local band Thokazile Collective, the lyrically summery Brazillian perfection of Mônica Vasconcelos and the almost Morriconesque interpretations of Gianni Berengo Gardin’s beautiful photography from Tommaso Starace, who opened the Jamboree at lunchtime, the 7.00pm artist arrived with two of his bandmates, but missing three others.
“‘They are stuck in a tunnel’ Omar said to me,” recalls Timo.
“‘Where?’ I asked. ‘Southampton’ he replied. ‘This is an hour away at least from Poole’ I rejoined blithely ‘and you’re on in an hour.’ He looked at me just as calmly and said: ‘We’ll make something work.'”
Making something work meant opening the session a little late and then creatively filling while Mssrs Peach and Clarke fielded telephoned assurances that the rest of the lineup were on their way.
“We had keen audiences for the five shows of the Jambo,” says Timo, “and they were queuing in the hallway ready for the doors to open. So I had to jovially inform them of progress periodically before we committed to admission and Omar went on with just lead singer Caroline and very well furnished percussionist Flava. But I introduced them as a live example of ‘building a band’ and made a sort of thing out of it. They then made showmanship pluckily until I could swan in and theatrically introduce the bassist, drummer and guitarist, fresh from the taxi. By the end of their set, the crowd were on their feet and stomping along.”
“I never broke a sweat about it” Mr Peach concludes.
With the much loved global dub of Soothsayers finishing the day with tight brass and vocals highlighting thoughtful global worldview over their big summer grooves, the World Jazz Jamboree was a fitting send off to the Jazz By The Sea Festival 2017. And responses across social media and the press resound it as a success to build on again next year.
“I loved being part of the set up of the festival and getting to meet who I did was wonderful. Idris and the Sooths were as impressive to finally hear live as I’d heard they’d be – they arrange such a strong but interesting sound with sax, horn and three-part vocals over the big backline talents, but it’s their commitment to challenging perceptions of the world that really elevates their skills beyond the party. And Monica’s sound was a creative delight for a summer afternoon. We ran out of her CDs – best pal Julian nobly gave his up for an audience member having travelled internationally to join me for the music. While Omar was a true showman across his creative versitility and meeting Caroline and Flava from his group was, like everyone in the Sherling that sweaty summer day, an inspiration of professionalism.”
“Dropping into some of my favourite venues during the week where I could was great also, like Sixty Million Postcards for a little homecoming set from the mighty talent Mutant Vinyl and the joyfull cabaret fun of Bomo Swing at Chaplins Cellar Bar. To say nothing of bobbing about on the jazz boat in a dazzling summer afternoon in Poole Harbour on the final Sunday afternoon, so my sincere thanks must go to Gerry and to all of my team mates at the fest for making such super musical memories for me and many.”
“And I deliberately took Tommaso’s Italian Short Stories and a couple of Soothsayers LPs with me with me to embed into my holiday memories around Europe the week after. In a summer full of grim stories in the UK, I am reminded of the power of inclusive creative events and music to lift the soul. A pleasure to be a part of it. And I think what it reminded me most of all was the sheer wealth of musical skill and heart in my home town – there is a live jazz night somewhere almost every day of every week here, and it showed during Jazz By The Sea again. Just think of a band like Dan Somogy’s Thokazile Collective – it’s a bit of a supergroup of folk from musical life locally, but they sound like they are from the whole world.”
“We were even approached by local jazz supermind Bob Hill from The Illicit Grooves Radio Show to run his own Grooves On The Fringe fest all week concurrently, warming up for Incognito at Canvas and DJing whole nights elsewhere each evening. Imagine if we could book some of his favourite artists live for next year? Here’s to the 2018 party, I say.”
WATCH MOMO MEET TOMMASO STARACE AT THE WORLD JAZZ JAMBOREE:
WATCH MOMO MEET MONICA VASCONCELOS AT THE WORLD JAZZ JAMBOREE:
A brand new chapter, a brand new visual brand language. Much of the old mucking about – but all of it pointing forward for new times with Momo.
Is it finally time? The bloke from Momo seems to think so. “Time to begin revealing what I and others have been up to with Momo – though this is just a beginning,” he says. “The beginning of the future.”
Transforming the visual of an idiosyncratic music project like Momo:tempo might afford lots of room for play, you might think. But as Bournemouth creative Timo Peach says, you’ve always got to stay true to your identity.
“Momo’s previous style was a truthful expression of this daft creative musical world I live in. Momo:tempo in the Thespionage years sounded especially spy-caper somewhere in the mix, and it was a fab little world to inhabit. But since then, I’ve been turning my attention forward – and working on a project that may be an even more truthful expression of all that I love” he says.
“We won’t be revealing the project itself for a month or so yet, but much has been happening behind the scenes,” he explains “and the new look unveiled today is the first expression of its tone and attitude. We’re heading towards the future with Momo in all manner of ways – and there’s an awful lot to come.”
But keeping the right tone is still a balancing act?
“For sure. Momo is playful, and I’m a slightly goofy Englishman abroad as a character in the middle of it,” he says, “and broadly this will never change. So all that we developed here has to still keep a good twinkle in its eye. But Momo is perhaps as much an art project as it is a musical one, and all my wider creative work seems to be bleeding past its borders more and more as I go on.”
“I love the idea of exploring the space between the dancefloor, the cabaret theatre and the gallery. And this is where we start.”
Support and development.
Developing and building beneath the surface is long time friends and Createful art director, Toby Pestridge. “And he’s developed a lovely set of tools under the bonnet to use. I’m really looking forward to using it more” says Timo.
“We’re about to roll out a new Mercato shop – built as we speak but being shaken down. Which is going to be so super to build up things – have loads of ideas for posters and tees, over time. But I suppose the thing I’m most looking forward to is developing my relationship with my family of amigos, and seeing it grow. I think we can have some adventures together with the new work and I think it’s going to get them ALMOST as excited as I am about it.”
“For now, this is just the beginning. Of an adventure bigger than I’ve dared try before. I’m a long way from shore in my little ship this year, redirecting everything that Momo is. But I’m loving the direction we’re heading, at least. Let me know when the water biscuits run out and we’re all at sea for real, won’t you…”