Mindfulness for Children in Stroud – Visit 01

Last Tuesday (1st October 2019) I performed some music at an after-school group – Mindfulness for Children in Stroud. A space for children around Stroud to relax after a day at school, to get creative, to learn about mindfulness through meditation and yoga and a place for them to be themselves and socialise with other children around their age. The children really seemed to enjoy having live music being performed, the first song – Patience – they all sat watching in silence. Here’s a little video clip taken by the group coordinator – Alice Lowrie;

It was so much fun. I met Alice at a campsite near St Davids, both her family and mine were camping on the same field, my Mum being quite a social person brought us together. Alice and her partner were intrigued by my music so I performed a few songs for them and their children. We exchanged Facebook contacts and kept in touch. I then noticed she organised this group and messaged asking if she ever wanted some music, I’d love to play!

Any excuse to go back to Stroud really, I love the place. I was originally recommend to go their by a Monk friend of mine – Keli – from Cardiff “Stroud is the best place in the world … (on a Saturday)”, and Keli has travelled all across India, so Stroud must be something special! Turns out it is – I love it! The first time I busked there a woman yelled at me whilst I was playing “Come every Saturday! Stroud needs your music!” – ha! That was on the 7th of September, I’ve been every Saturday since (except 28th September cause I was in Carmarthen).

The Mindfulness session started with a circle time, a chance to introduce ourselves and share what our favourite instruments were. A jar of golden glitter indicated who’s turn it was to speak. Then I spoke about what I do – I’m a street musician, a busker, I play music on the streets for people and sometimes people share a smile or some money. Followed by questions, but not really questions, turns out all the children and their parents were buskers too! They were all so overjoyed to put their hands up and make up stories about how they busked with violins or that they go busking with their Dad. It was more of a ‘Strouds Busker Meet-up’ group aha. It was brilliant.

After a few songs, the children got excited to doodle on the CD cases I brought with me. I continued playing whilst they ran off to sketch cats and rainbows and their own faces. A chorus of felt-tips scratching on cardboard accompanied the music, with the random outbursts of laughter and animal noises. I slowed right down and went as quiet as I could at one point, no-one was talking, just concentrating on their designs and the felt-tips scratching filled the room, it was quite a magical moment, I recorded the session and this song is available (send me an email if you’d like to hear =]).

mindfulness stroud

One boy, Ronnie sat right beside me as I played. Every time I finished a song he would ask “Can you do that again?”. Ahhh it was just brilliant, we all had such a nice time and Alice insisted that I come again to play. I’m hoping to bring my friend Theone along for some Maefield improvisation 🙂

Its such a nice group for the children to come after school, relax, be themselves and socialise with other children. The leader Alice is amazing, she’s doing an incredible thing for these children!

Be sure to check the Facebook page out and follow their journey, maybe you’re from Stroud and are looking for a group like this! Or maybe you’re also a travelling musician and would like to play an event like this! 🙂

Go go go – www.facebook.com/mindfulchildStroud


Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.

If you’d like to support it further you can join me on Patreon. A subscription platform, where you donate a price of your choice, rewarded with different benefits, like exclusive tracks and postcards. Link below;

www.patreon.com/chatfield 

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

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Have a great day!

The ‘Pantyrathro International Hostel’ gig!

On the 27th of September I played a concert at The ‘Pantyrathro International Hostel’. Which is in South Wales, near Carmarthen. I stayed here a couple times this summer (2019), and connected really well with the owner – Ken Knuckles. Ken is an avid traveller and spent his childhood travelling with his family, then as an adult would travel across the world for 6 months at a time. We conversed a lot about travelling, it was incredible to hear his stories and he’s a great story teller. When Ken travelled, the internet wasn’t super prominent like it is now, so most of the time he didn’t know exactly what to expect from the places he visited. I’ve made this a habit to not look into too much detail about the places I’m going, to allow the unknown to surprise. I feel always knowing too much information can ruin it at times.

Every time I visited this hostel I would always meet new characters and connect with people from all walks of life, one of the may joys a hostel brings. Hostels for sure take introverts our their comfort zone, but it builds your ability to socialise and hold conversation. There’s always so much to be learnt by conversing with new people, we’ve all got lessons and stories to benefit one another. – a blog post about this Hostel


So after walking into the hostel with my guitars on my back, those at the bar asked me to play a song – they liked those songs – we booked the gig. The great thing about having a portable set-up means you can play on demand, anywhere. The great thing about music, you can fit it into almost any environment and provide entertainment and value to people, as music is cleansing for the soul in numerous ways.

We promoted the gig on local Facebook groups and flyers around the town. The turn out was 6 people, but it was amazing, it really was. Feeling rather nervous about the show, as I hadn’t properly gigged in some time. I feel like I don’t gig often, but that maybe because I felt too many fails from organising shows, spending so much time on building a set of songs specific to the gig, and no-one turning up but myself and the staff – ha! I guess it’s part of the trade, you just got to keep on gigging. So this time around I didn’t solely spend my time writing a new set of songs or postpone busking to practice for the gig, I just continued busking and noted any improvisations to revisit for the gig. So my set list contained a lot of instrumental songs with looping and space for improvisation. I did include a couple of songs with vocals, here’s one;

Which is actually one of the first songs I wrote with this dual guitar set-up. Back when I jumped into the trio of vocals/guitar/bass, part of me wishes I just stuck that out and kept on writing with vocals, but once again those moments of failure pushed me down. But I’m learning to just accept failure, ignore judgement and do that which makes me happy. So I have been writing with vocals more these past few months, I yet have any completed songs, but I’m on the verge of finishing a few.

With only a small crowd of people it allowed for conversations and connections to be made with ease. At times we had group discussions about travel, certain song stories and their confidence in me to travel the world and perform to many thousands in the future – who knows what will happen! It was full of laughter and smiling, which made it more comforting to play and feel good in myself. Taking the time to look up and share eye contact with everyone during a song really helps settle those nerves. Ken said he noticed how when I smiled whilst performing, everyone else would begin to smile, an infectious feeling. Smile at strangers more – it can highly impact someones day. 

I met Paul and Deborah, who we’re so kind to offer a place to stay whenever I visited Haverfordwest, even if they’re away I can camp in their garden, well that’s just brilliant 🙂 The following day they gave me a bag of goodies, as I reminded them of their son. Very lovely people. I met Paul (another Paul – Paul WS) during the day of the gig, rehearsing upstairs in the hostel, Paul walked past then asked if he could sit in, “sure!“, he videoed a few tracks and took pictures.  When I finished a song he said “You’ve just played the soundtrack to my life“. He told me his story and the journey he’s currently embarking, which is tough going. I won’t go into specifics as it’s personal, but he’s been through hell, and yet his optimism on life is inspiring. Walking across Wales has healed his mind and soul massively, we went for a sunrise walk the morning after the gig.

“Depth over distance, every time…” – Ben Howard


Following the conversations with Paul WS, I wrote a track ‘Freeze Frame’. Here’s the idea behind that phrase from Paul WS;

“Freeze Frame” – Paul WS. We only have today, each day brings a whole collection of moments, a series of frames, just like a film. Take a snippet, one frame of each day and freeze it in your mind. That way of capturing the good moments, allows you to go back and hold gratitude, it aids you out of the darkness because there are always going to be good moments, even if for just that single frame.

You can really learn a lot from conversations – converse more with strangers and dive into questions 🙂


Lessons learnt from the gig;

  • Talking with an audience isn’t actually that terrifying when you just be yourself and open up. Eye contact helps, so does a smile – do it more.
  • Singing works, keep practising and keep song writing.
  • Early mornings outdoors gifts energy for the day.
  • Music is healing and holds a meaning to each individual. Don’t stop gifting it to the world#

Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.

If you’d like to support it further you can join me on Patreon. A subscription platform, where you donate a price of your choice, rewarded with different benefits, like exclusive tracks and postcards. Link below;

www.patreon.com/chatfield 

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

My TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/Eu-KJ1Z10Fk

Online Tips – paypal.me/jameschatfeld

Have a great day!

Church Doors Cove – Take Your Gifts Everywhere – You Are Important

This spot – Church Doors Cove in Pembrokeshire, is just beautiful!

An insanely captivating view with the best invitation to jump right in, swim and climb. Best thing, this spot is a couple minutes away from the YHA hostel in Manorbier. Every morning I’ve stayed here, this has been one of the first things I’ve seen. I love it!

I sat upon a high rock watching the water and songwriting, see video above.

All my stuff there. To the left of this picture was a couple of families, so I was partial supplying music for them, but songwriting isn’t really a performance, repeating things over and over slowly to gain precision. At least I thought it wouldn’t disturb the families – it didn’t – because the next day (as in songwriting was 20th,the next day-this day the 21st) whilst I was busking in Tenby, the Mom’s of each family approached me.

“I saw you at Church Doors yesterday, I thought you were busking but then I realised you were just in your own world. But it made it magic. It was really soothing and fitting to the spot, thank you”.

It was crazy that we bumped into each other here, or is it crazy? Because both Tenby and Church Doors Cove are tourists places to see in Pembrokeshire… What is crazy? Another question for another blog post.

From this I learnt that just being you and taking your gifts everywhere with you, not being afraid to just do whatever it is you do. Can open doors and give people something of meaning.

You are important, your existence is important.

Important means; to hold great significance or value.

You are of great value!

Goodnight, sleep well.

__________

Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

Join me on Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/chatfield

My TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/Eu-KJ1Z10Fk

Have a great day!

Live at The Oil Basin: Drums and Tings

Earlier in November, I performed a solo set in Worcester at the Winbrew Trip Co. which later evolved into a Maefield gig (new duo, a later post will add detail), then into a huge jam with a bunch of my musician pals from Worcester.

For the gig, I played a lot of new stuff, which currently involves a small drum kit (hats, snare and kick). My set-up has changed a lot over this year, going from solo bass to double guitars 18th December 2017, now with drums/vocals and quite recently little weird additions saucepans/glockenspiel/tongue drum.

Everything keeps falling into place with the set-up. I have a vision for a much larger set-up ready for tours and bigger gigs. Slowly but surely, I’m getting there.

Here’s a track I wrote with added drums/vocals;
Written whilst staying in Liverpool.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

― Dr. Seuss

For the gig, I didn’t sing as my confidence was very low, so I stuck to just instrumental. You can listen to it all here;

 

 

Sunflower Shed Sessions

Recently I visited Bournemouth for a busking trip, was originally planned to stay there for just a weekend. But loved the city too much, there’s so much beauty here, great busking spots, beaches, swimming, so many vegan cafes and goodies, basically an all round amazing place! Here I met Allie Kenward, who kindly gave me a place to stay, showed me around Bournemouth and became a bigger part of my music than I could imagine. She joined me busking, took videos, painted CDs and suggested more ideas for a bigger show. Sunflower Shed – Allie’s allotment, was a lovely place to play some music, so we did a few sessions here, where I played music and she did her gardening things!
Video above is the first one we did, Video below is our second session!

Sunflower Shed Sessions 2 was kindly filmed by a floaty artichoke! Thanks dude!

Here’s some audio clips from these sessions;

A combination of music and gardening. Something I’ve wanted to do for ages! Allotment gigs, so that’s a goal in mind, to get an actual Allotment gig sorted!

I feel chilled music and gardening have similarity in how they soothe the mind and bring some form of therapy to us. Quiet and relaxing music really helps calm the mind down, it can almost be an escape from reality and bring you to a totally different world in your mind, (“I was sat here, but my mind was away on the coastline in the sea” said Timbo, a guy who recently saw me out busking in Hereford) some music really resonated with me and sends my minds on wild adventures, brings back memories and feelings, nostalgic and beautiful it can be. Gardening too, it’s a raw natural thing that connects you with nature and the textures of plants can be soothing to touch, away from everything busy and into the wild with plants.

What are your thoughts? Does gardening relax you? Would you like to see more music/gardening things?

 

All the best,

Much love,

James

 

 

Himley Hall and Park – Improvisation track 18th June 2018

On the route back from busking in Wolverhampton, I stopped off at a beautiful place called Himley Hall, found a lovely setting to play in and improvised this little tune.

As I was setting up to play, I said to myself, maybe I’ll find love tomorrow. That thought inspired emotions and those emotions created this track. It’s interesting how the soul sometimes just speaks and pours out music. I really like this track and it’s most definitely one of my favourite things I’ve created in a while.

I was hoping to play for longer and get some more tunes, but the gates to the place were closing close to the time I played. I mean, I could of just got trapped in and played all night here…. But then the warmth of home and my dog! Anyways video is below, give it a listen! I hope you enjoy!

Video Catch-Up 8th-13th June 2018

Hey! I haven’t posted anything in a while, but I’ve still been out doing things! Daily videos are becoming more frequent and I’ve been doing lots of album work! So kinda got distracted from blogging more frequently!
I feel I’m slowly shifting my life into a more flowing stream of creativity and mega content uploading. After listening to this video a few times, my passion for creating loads of content has increased,
“you’re one song from getting all that you want” – Gary Vee.
I 100% agree with this guy, if you can release high amounts of content on a regular basis, have the ability to record and publish your music and have the music to do it, then why not do it? Why not just release everything you do and build this huge pool of content for everyone to enjoy and to add to your legend. That one little riff you post could spark a huge interest from the right person and get your music on some upcoming film!
So just do, and just do more and just do, just do, do just, do do the just do do!

Anyways here’s a bunch of videos I’ve released the past few days!

Don’t really know what I’m doing, never do, never will. But I know I wanna start singing more. This idea came from that desire! Bass guitar is just one big drum stick!

Some improvisation out in Worcester was playing opposite Be The Change Foods, which is a super great Vegan cafe, they brought out a little cookie for me too!

Some more improvisation in Worcester, this time with a loop pedal! Which is something new for the set-up with two guitars, so much fun to play around with!

This is some improvisation whilst busking in Hereford, later in the evening 6pm I believe. When this idea came to mind, I instantly thought a vocal line on it would be really cool, so I tried to keep it simple in hope that I can get a vocalist to sing over the recording of it!

Enjoying the sun in the garden with my looper and guitar and dog – Roxy.
Looping Garden Sessions was born, maybe there’ll be more, who knows!? Too many ideas I keep getting, that’s why I just want to release everything, so nothing gets lost!