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Mike Garry and The Cassia String Quartet - Stamford Quarter, Altrincham, 23/7/2021

  by Shirley Procter and Amanda J WIndow

published: 7 / 10 / 2021



Mike Garry and The Cassia String Quartet - Stamford Quarter, Altrincham, 23/7/2021

On Friday 23rd July my partner in crime, Amanda Window, and I (with our other halves) were at the Not So Secret Garden, in Altrincham’s Stamford Quarter, for our first gig since the start of lockdown in March 2020. So much has happened to us both during lockdown, it’s felt at times like it was never going to end. To get out together to such a lovely open air venue was wondrous in itself, but then to see and hear Mike Garry with the Cassia String Quartet performing together was beyond wondrous. It was frankly delicious! Mike is a phenomenal, critically acclaimed poet, whose work covers the grittiness of ordinary, everyday life. Hel is passionate about developing the skills of children and young people, and is not afraid to speak the truth about what he sees. The Cassia String Quartet are a multi-award winning group of musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and have worked with Mike for a number of years as well as with New Order, The Charlatans and Daughter. The quartet are as follows: Amy Welch - violin Tory Clarke - violin Laurie Dempsey - viola Andy Crick - cellist The string quartet starts. The sound is beautiful - mournful and harmonic. Mike Garry takes to the stage and says: “Hiya, thanks for coming everyone. I’m feeling a lot of love in the area.” He then opens with ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’. As Mike speaks out the poem, the strings rise into crescendos as his voice rises, and fall down again as his voice quietens. The contrast of the sound of his voice and the strings is amazing. He then starts to recite ‘Tonight’. The impact of this poem set to music is powerful. Mike tells us: “We walk on hallowed ground in Manchester, where Turing was, where the suffragettes lived.” ‘Making Shapes’ is next. The strings play, then Mike starts. The strings are playing lower octaves, as Mike speaks out passionately. The music and words combine so effectively! When he finishes, he tells us: “I love listeners. You have to listen to this, don’t you!? Here’s a cheery one for you. Anyone know Mersey Bank? This one’s called ‘Flying Bikes over Mersey Bank’”/ There is staccato playing by the violins, with the cello playing a bass line. Mike speaks over t1he instruments, and as the poem develops, a violin joins in with the cello. I remember the Mersey Bank Estate, from when I worked for Manchester Housing! “This cheery stuff to start off with, then we’ll move on …” The strings start up again, whilst Mike wanders around the stage, then starts to speak out ‘Son’. Wow, such a powerful poem!. He jokes: “Keeping it cheery, we love the dark, don’t we? Ok, we’ll do ‘Agadoo”’. (We didn’t!) He tells us: “I love teachers, I just love teachers. I had one, and just loved her. When I went to school, I felt loved.” Mike counts the strings in, then tells ‘Signify’ about the impact one person can have on the life of a child. . The combination of the strings and the vocals is wonderful, the sounds complementing each other beautifully. Mike then says: “Thanks for coming down everyone. What I love. right, is counselling, relationship counselling. Put your hand up if you’re in relationship counselling. I read this article about relationship counselling; you pay, then stare into each other’s eyes for an hour and you don’t talk. You hate each other by the end of it.” This is a build up to ‘Blink Game’, a really powerful poem about relationships and how they change over time. Mike is singing now “and mercies cold, cold, cold.” He then starts ‘Spring Crossings’, a poem about people smuggling. He asks us not to clap at the end of this one, as it’s not appropriate. He says; “Thank you, All I can hear is the sound of the staff.” He introduces the string quartet, says what an honour it is to work with them. He tells us that this is the encore and that it’s ‘Show Me Hope’, and he also asks people not to post videos online of tonight. Mike tells his poems with such feeling and passion that he’s wonderful to hear. He does another encore. This time it’s ‘Kids on Glue’, a heartbreaking poem, passionately told, with a beautiful strings accompaniment. This was a brilliant evening!!! I didn’t really know what to expect, and was mesmerised by both the poetry and music. After the gig finished, I had a short interview with Mike, which you can also read in this edition. Photos by Amanda J Window www.amandajwindow.com



Band Links:-
https://www.mikegarry.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/MikeGarryPoetry/
http://www.twitter.com/mikegarry
https://www.facebook.com/CassiaStringQuartet/
https://twitter.com/CassiaQuartet


Play in YouTube:-


Picture Gallery:-
Mike Garry and The Cassia String Quartet - Stamford Quarter, Altrincham, 23/7/2021


Mike Garry and The Cassia String Quartet - Stamford Quarter, Altrincham, 23/7/2021


Mike Garry and The Cassia String Quartet - Stamford Quarter, Altrincham, 23/7/2021


Mike Garry and The Cassia String Quartet - Stamford Quarter, Altrincham, 23/7/2021


Mike Garry and The Cassia String Quartet - Stamford Quarter, Altrincham, 23/7/2021


Mike Garry and The Cassia String Quartet - Stamford Quarter, Altrincham, 23/7/2021



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intro

Writer Shirley Procter and photographer Amanda J Window watch poet Mike Garry play a gig with The Cassini String Quartet at the Stamford Quarter in Altrincham.



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