News — Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee - A match made in Ukulele Heaven 0

Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee

There is indeed, a huge army of ‘uke’ players out there thrumming away, but very few have managed to actually earn a living as professional players, the exception being Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee based in San Diego, California USA.

Fusion caught up with Sarah and Craig via Skype, whilst they were visiting family in the exotic Hawaii Islands. 

Craig Chee grew up in Hawaii, and as a youngster he loved everything musical. This included going to the theatre, singing in choirs and even watching films. It was a huge part of his upbringing.

“I can relate to your story Craig,” says Sarah, “I didn’t have a ukulele as a child. I actually started playing classical violin when I was six years old, I took all the lessons and played in orchestras up until I was about 17. Then I realised that I didn’t have the drive to be a professional violinist, so I dropped all musical ties whilst I pursued a career in costume making in the theatre for six years. I actually have a degree in pattern making.

By chance I went to a pizza place where there were about 40 ukulele players performing along with hula hula dancers, it was the coolest, most awesome thing I’d ever witnessed, a real life changing moment. Until then, I knew very little about a ukulele, I actually contacted the band leader called Frank Leong for lessons in 2006, and haven’t looked back, it’s such a beautiful and happy sounding instrument, like the people who surround it.

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Artist Spotlight: The England Supporters Band 0

ENGLAND SUPPORTERS BAND

INTERVIEW WITH BAND LEADER JOHN HEMMINGHAM

The England Band - Supporters BandSports fans will certainly be aware of the pulsating ‘boomta boomta’ drum beat, trumpet trills and trombone parps, that are heard at many competitive events around the world, especially at football matches, in a live situation or on TV. We can narrow that down a little further, England football matches to be precise, they are in fact, the official, and now legendary, England Supporters Band, fronted by band leader John Hemmingham. Using modern technology, Fusion paid a visit to John via Skype, witnessing an office that rather resembled an explosion in a paper mill.

“Hi”, says John, “Sorry about my untidy desk, I’m in the middle of running through all the football fixtures for 2015, I also have the job of organising all the transport, flights and hotels for our home and away matches, it’s just gone crazy. It’s not just football, we also play at all the Leeds Rhino matches, Great Britain Hockey Championships, Olympic events around the world, all the Ricky Hatton boxing matches in Las Vegas, George Groves boxing and UK Snooker Championships, it just keeps going and the work just pours in. Some events you would think a brass band with drums wouldn’t fit in but it does, this includes pantomimes and even a French cookery TV show in France called Bocuse D’or.”

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Artist Spotlight: Farnell Newton - Trumpeter, Educator, Recording Artist 0

Farnell Newton - Trumpet PlayerFarnell Newton is an incredibly versatile musical educator at Portland State University’s Jazz Department, where he teaches a variety of musical styles including, jazz, hip hop, funk, soul, rock, pop and Latin music. He’s also become one of the world’s most respected horn players, and a first choice for touring and recording for a host of major artists.

A never-ending list of artists that have benefited from Farnell’s playing includes Stevie Wonder, Bootsy Collins, Jill Scott, Earth, Wind and Fire, Gladys Knight and Cee Lo Green.

Time is tight for Farnell, but Fusion managed to catch up with him for an interview on a wet November afternoon in 2014.

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Fusion Joins Forces With The England Band 0


The England Football Supporters Band have followed the England Football Team  globally, having visited more than 60 countries and every World Cup and European  Finals, that England have competed in since its creation in 1996, playing many famous songs that have become historic, football anthems including, ‘The Great Escape’ theme tune. Read more