Stories and Songs in Bournemouth…

Loved playing in Bournemouth last weekend.

It was especially good to play with Stan Majerski on keys. We met in the Balkans and he produced and played on two albums that were developed out there: “Dreams of a Homecoming” and “This is for you”. We’ve also toured a lot together along with our larger five-price band.  In my opinion, the man is a genius – if you’ve heard his melodic solos and creative harmonies, I expect you agree!

 

Tapestry

Sharing an evening of “Stories and Songs”, we wanted to weave together music, conversation and visual art that point to the reality of the “God who is there”. The One who has come towards us in the person of Jesus to draw us into connection – relationship – with Him through His death and resurrection…

With one or two events most weeks until the end of March, I’ll keep you posted!

Here are some images taken on the evening by the gifted Bournemouth photographer, Loïc Salan…

Sozo Music Festival Novi Sad – 2012

This is the first year that the Sozo music festival has been held in Serbia. With a magnificent stage by the River Danube, it was my privilege to open the Friday night.

Having lived in Serbia, I can speak a bit of the language – in this clip you will catch me welcoming the gathering crowd, telling them what the evening will hold and then in the middle of the song explaining, “This song is saying, ‘Come to me and I will give you rest’ somebody very well known said this – His Name is Jesus…”

Recording “Dreams of a Homecoming” in the Balkans…

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Dreams of a Homecoming – “An imaginative, surprising recording”

“Newly released by Andy Mayo on the Turquoise Tracks label, ‘Dreams of a Homecoming’. A fusion of funk, jazz and R&B: melting ballads contrast with driving rhythms. A lyrical poetry soaks the recording… Andy’s blues-folk vocal lines – now raw, now mellow – cut to the soul. These are songs that echo long after the CD has stopped spinning.
 
“Hauntingly melodic contributions from the versatile jazz saxophonist Nick Beston of “Take5” and “NBQ” complement the rich talent of Stan Mayerski on keyboards ranging from Hammond to Grand.
 
“Creative interplay between vocals, bass, drums, guitars, saxes, keyboards and sequencing – arrangements skilfully sculpted by Stan Mayersky – make for an imaginative, surprising recording.
 
“With an unlikely eclectic of influences ranging from Morcheeba to Bob Dylan; Tracey Chapman to Ronnie Jordon, these songs were written in the shelled remains of the former Yugoslav Republics where London-born Andy made his home for these last seven years. Against this stark background of civil war, bombings and deserted dwellings, a cry for peace and a homecoming stand out vividly.
 
“After a honing in the streets, bars, train stations and cafés of Belgrade, Vienna, Sarajevo and London, these passionate songs of longing and peace are finally available on CD.”
 

– press release on CD release –

Musicians on “Dreams…”

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[col_two_five last=”true”]Recorded in Serbia, mixed in Croatia and pressed in Germany…  these are the musicians featured on “Dreams of a Homecoming”.

 

 

Guitars, mandolin and vocals:
Andy Mayo

Keyboards and programming:
Stanislav Majerski

Saxophones:
Nick Beston

Additional Guitars:
Stanislav Majerski (Whining of the brakes, Salvation Day)
Zoran Zivancevic (The Reason, Coming Home)

Harmonica:
Emil Cizmanski

Additional Backing Vocals:
Jelena Djokic (Today, Coming Home)

Anita Adamek, Marjan Djoicinoski, Stanislav Majerski, Dule Martinov, Marija Martuljak, Ivan Zlatanovic (May the Lord Answer you)

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“Dreams…” Reviewed by Natalie Williams in “The Walk”

Jazz ballads of the same ilk as Tracy Chapman and the like are combined with poetic lyrics on Andy Mayo’s impressive debut album. Against the backdrop of the war torn former Yugoslav Republics, where Andy spent the last seven years, Dreams… carries a message of hope and peace through all 13 tracks, from the melodic ballad ‘Today’ to the more upbeat funk of ‘The Reason’.

Best Track: ‘Pink House Peace’ – moving lyrics and soulful sax.

“Excellent. Original, spiritual, uplifting: the Message in a language and deep rhythms that we understand.” – Dominic, Wayland Prison

“What an evening! Positive, stirred, challenged. Roars and cheers and a standing ovation from a packed auditorium…” – Nick, Norfolk

 

“…continually suffused with transcendent hope…” – Cross Rhythms Review

…a long way from the introspective musings or stylised praise and worship of many independent releases. In fact, with contributions from jazz saxman Nick Beston (Take 5 and NBQ) and Stan Mayersky’s winning ways on Hammond and grand it’s jazz which colours many of the tracks here, though Andy wouldn’t claim to be an out-and-out jazzo.

What he is is a thoughtful observer of the carnival of life and whether he’s penning his observations of a shivering child in Belgrade (“Princess In The Park”), the quiet still voice of God (“Today”) or a hint of glory to come (“Dreams of A Homecoming”), Andy’s lyrics are decidedly poetic… his dry, world-weary voice suits the laid back mood of haunting poignancy perfectly.

These songs were written in the shelled remains of the former Yugoslav Republics where London-born Andy made his home for seven years. Yet despite the occasional bleak image his message is continually suffused with transcendent hope.

Dreams of a Homecoming – Andy Mayo – Bio at time of “Dreams” release…

Musical Beginnings:

Learning to play the guitar at the age of twelve, the instrument quickly became part of my identity. The fret-board never far from my fingers, friends always turned to me for a song. Sade, Muddy Waters or Otis Reading-style songs were great atmosphere-builders and I loved to oblige a request for “a bit of music”.

Later, free weekends saw me at Oxford Circus Tube or playing in a club…

 

Jesus and my Life:

Parallel to my enjoyment of music but increasingly surpassing it was my experience of walking with Jesus Christ as my King and Saviour. At seventeen I started to write songs about Him with the purpose of communicating something more radical and revolutionary than simply a good vibe.

Friends unable to talk about such close-to-the-heart subjects would listen, enquire, cry, laugh and question the deepest themes when they came out of a song… some coming right to that place of responding to Jesus and experiencing that ultimate of homecomings.

University missions in cities such as Birmingham, Cardiff and London were good opportunities to take this message to a wider audience. During this time I met jazz saxophonist Nick Beston with whom I played a number of venues. His melodic solos complemented my compositions and his friendship and creativity inspired me to push the music further…

 

Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia:

My wife – Faye – and I moved to Serbia during a shocking period of that region’s history. But in partnership with local believers and under the auspices of Oak Hall, we began a mission course to facilitate the sending out of Serb, Croat and Bosnian missionaries to their own people.

We praise God for the opportunities that we have seen as over one hundred and fifty people have been with us for a year of study and outreach experience and then moved out to the mission fields around us. A team of twelve local people now work alongside us to lead this project.

During the last seven years in the Balkans, the music recorded on “Dreams of a Homecoming” has been written played and honed in places ranging from train stations to TV stations, theatres to beach bars…

 

Dreams of a Homecoming

The theme of “Homecoming” is a powerful one to me in the context of the destruction we have witnessed: wars, ethnic-cleansing, refugees and bombing.

But this theme is not one that is just for the Balkans: the world is full of those who dream of a homecoming.

As He explains in Luke 15, it was to bring us “home” that Jesus came.

In the insert of the CD I wrote:

“A longing for a homecoming fills countless people’s hearts: a yearning for peace…”

My prayer is simply that this album would communicate about Jesus – the Prince of Peace – the One who died to bring us home.

– Andy 01/05/03