Dear friends of Strummerville,

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We would like to thank everyone who has supported us during the build up and organisation of the Strummer of Love festival. We want to thank all those who attended, all the bands who played and everyone who worked at the festival you all contributed to what was an amazing experience.

And although it was a huge success creatively, socially and musically it has been a drain financially and we are now having to scale back on the charitable activities of Strummerville.

We are at present taking some time to restructure and regroup but we are pleased to say we will still remain active and have some exciting projects coming up.

We really do appreciate the support you have all shown us over the years and we look forward continuing our work.

Strummerville

NME: The Drums to play Glastonburys Strummerville campfire

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Excerpt:

“The Drums are among the bands confirmed for the Strummerville camp at Glastonbury this year.

Once again, the charitable foundation set up in The Clash legend’s honour will be hosting its own campfire sessions at the exact spot where Strummer used to have his own fire.

Located at the Unfair Ground, Strummerville will be hosting acoustic performances around the fire starting at midnight and running late into the night.

Alongside the Brooklyn band, sets from Frank Turner, Ali Love, Fionn Regan, I Blame Coco and Lissie have been confirmed, with more names to be announced.”

Read full article

Strummerville Open Sensoria in Sheffield, Friday 23 April

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We are excited to be off to Sheffield next week to open the Sensoria Festival with the European premier of Strummerville – a Don Letts film.

Sensoria is the UK’s festival of music, film and digital – the 7-day hive of activity takes place 23 – 29 April.

Following the screening there will be a Q&A with Beans On Toast and Trish Whelan director of the Strummerville charity. There will be live sets from Strummerville bands Smokey Angle Shades, Beans On Toast, The Riff Raff and Nimmo & The Gauntletts.

Hot from a world premiere at SXSW in this documentary, Grammy award-winning filmmaker Don Letts shows how Joe Strummer’s unique contribution to the music world is manifesting itself through a charity set up in his memory – Strummerville. The film features contributions from supporters and founders of the charity, including Billy Bragg, Antony Genn and Damien Hirst, plus wonderful footage of Strummer himself.

Tickets are available in advance at www.showroomworkstation.org.uk or sensoria.org.uk or call 0114 275 7727

Showtime is Friday 23 April at 7pm at
Showroom Cinema, Sheffield.

Strummerville at SXSW 2010

sxsw-strummerville-logoStrummerville are fresh off our amazing trip to SXSW where we presented our take-over on the opening night of The British Music Embassy and our official showcase at Prague on 17 March.

Thanks to Supernovas, Smokey Angle Shades, Nat Jenkins, Beans On Toast and The Riff-Raff for making our debut at SXSW such a great experience. And thanks to Billy Bragg, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Chis Shiflett, The Good The Bad and Wayne Kramer for their support and awesome shows.

We were joined in Austin by Don Letts who presented his film also called Strummerville at the Paramount on 19 March. Big thanks also to Don for his wonderful support.

It truly was a positive and powerful experience for everyone involved.

Strummerville – A Charity in Honour of Joe Strummer of The Clash: Whats It All About?

joe-strummer-muralWe wanted to share this with you this post made by a blogger who goes under the name of Shazwellyn.

“Let me introduce you to the charity Strummerville! Set up in honour of the late Joe Strummer of The Clash, the trustee’s consist of family and friends who create opportunities for musicians who lack the necessary funds to do so.

They also support projects and organisations based around Joe Strummer’s ethics and beliefs. This ranges from providing instruments to prisoners, to help with rehabilitation (Jail Guitar Doors), to supporting people after murder and manslaughter (SAMM).

As you can see they are not biased in where they direct their help. The key is intervention humanitarian…the common good. Strummer strived for an unbiased world – a world where racism and racial discrimination, whether against whites, blacks and whoever, ceases to exist. He strived for a world against racism by advocating freedom and fairness.

The Strummerville Charity was inspired by Joe – he helped make a difference in the world. From environmental to humanitarian and social issues, through his music he inspired change. The formation of Future Trees (now The Carbon Neutral Company) was his brainchild by instigating the planting of acres of trees and Johnny Appleseed by Strummer was released to advertise this passionate environmental message.

His legacy continues to help the lives of others. From the days he spent around the Strummer Camp fire at Somerset’s Glastonbury Festival, to the united collaboration of musician’s in aid of fundraising for Strummerville (cover of Janey Jones with Babyshambles and friends) – John Mellor continues to leave his mark. Strummer was an inspiration… The Future Is Unwritten!!”

Thank you for the kind words Shazwellyn

Loads of love,
Strummerville x

Dean Cavanagh / ZANI remembers Joe Strummer Seven Years Gone

joe-strummerA couple of days before Christmas 2002 I get a text message from a mate saying Joe Strummer is dead. My mate owns a sex shop and does lots of gak. I thought he was finally losing it. Joe Strummer dead? No! No fucking way!

Elvis and Lennon’s deaths were shocking but this was news of a death of someone I had grown up listening to and occasionally aping. This was the death of someone who had spoken directly to me.

Rewind to 1977 and I’d got a right royal bollocking from my old man for customizing a white Harrington my mum had bought me on tick from Grattan catalogue. I’d got my mate Bob Marino — the first punk on our council estate — to do “The Clash” stencil on the back of the pristine white jacket. I thought I looked way beyond cool strutting around the streets in the jacket. My old man thought I was a vandal. Thank fuck he never clocked the Indian ink tattoo as well.

It might sound strange nowadays to say that a band can change your life, but that’s exactly what Strummer, Jones, Simonon and Headon did for millions of kids around the world in 1977. The Clash were the real deal and with Strummer leading The Last Gang In Town you intuitively knew you had a leader who walked it like he talked it. Even when news came out that he was the son of a diplomat and not a Ladbroke Grove urchin, it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because you knew Joe Strummer meant it. Strummer wasn’t slumming it. He couldn’t be! Nobody could fake those gutteral soul performances, unless of course they were extremely good actors, and let’s face it, the acting he did for Alex Cox and Jim Jarmusch in later life was hardly Oscar worthy.

Again, it’s hard to convey just how exciting it was buying a Clash single, running home, sticking it on the record player and listening to it over and over until you’d wore the needle down and pulled the print off the cover by staring at it for so long. The Clash were the full package: music, image, attitude.


The Clash couldn’t have come at a better time. The country was rotting under a corrupt and inept Labour Government that culminated in The Winter Of Discontent. We’ve obviously learned nothing as we find ourselves over 30 years later still ruled by a corrupt Labour Government who are even worse than the one in 1977. The Clash cut through the partisan bullshit of the left/right paradigm and came out firmly on the side of raw Truth. The lyrics hit the head and the heart and implored us to be angry with our lot. ‘White Riot’s incendiary clarion call shook us out of apathy and infused us with a sense of belonging. This was music for the disaffected, marginalized and those hungry for a direction. Above all, it was a call for change. That change came in the form of a new entrepreneurial spirit.

In my opinion The Clash epitomized a move away from state reliance. The state was fucked and the only way to move forward was to do it yourself. Simple: go out and form your own band, start a fanzine, throw a disco, write, design, make films, start a radio station, build your own record label, just create, do anything, something to beat the boredom and make a mark. This attitude seeped into the ideology of Thatcherism. Though loathe to admit it, the first wave of Punk Rockers in the UK were more in line with the Thatcher/Reagan spirit than the dead horse of the pseudo socialist Labour party that celebrated defeatism and subsidy. I doubt Joe Strummer would ever recognize the correlation but it’s there if you study the history. The amount of artists, writers, designers, film makers and successful entrepreneurs who charted their own courses from the punk big bang is staggering.

If Joe Strummer — and by default the rest of The Clash — should be remembered for anything though, it is their maverick attitude towards culture. Strummer got me listening to reggae and dub. Through him I found classic rock & roll, folk, country and western and even a little World music. It was this eclecticism that always kept Strummer relevant. Strummer was a genuine music lover, and believe it or not, that isn’t always the case with famous musicians.

I was fortunate to attend the remembrance benefit of Joe Strummer at The White Cube Gallery a few years ago. In the true spirit of Joe, Paul Buck, Johnny Johnson, James Brown, Paolo Sedezzari and me celebrated in high old style and to this day still look back on it as one of the best nights out…ever. The place was rammed with ‘creatives‘ from right across the spectrum. From pop stars to footballers and actors to psycho’s, chancers and misfits the place rocked out to Joe’s music and it was a testament to a man who was truly loved by all who met him. In the final analysis that’s all that ultimately matters…Joe was a good guy and an inspiration to those of us who didn’t want to do a “real” job for a living.

© Words – Dean Cavanagh/ ZANI Ltd
Published with kind permission – View Original Source

A look inside Strummerville HQ and the things we do

Strummerville Christmas Benefit Party!

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“Come out of the cupboards, you boys and girls,” said the invite. Just a handful of revellers turned up to toast Joe Strummer and support Strummerville (the charity set up by his family and friends), but for those lucky few that packed into The Tabernacle on Sunday night, it was an evening to cherish.

Among those who filled the intimate venue were filmmaker Julien Temple, Carbon Silicon bassist Leo Williams, the Rude Boy movie’s Ray Gange and infamous Clash mate Robin Banks. All were set to enjoy performances from three bands connected with the Strummerville cause. First up were the Savage Nomads, fronted by Cole Salewicz, son of veteran journo and Strummer biographer Chris. It could have been disconcerting playing to an empty dancefloor, but the group piled into their angular psych-flavoured post-punk commentaries with disarming confidence. These Arctic Monkeys-esque rascals were followed by Dan Smith‘s one-man band routine. An electric piano, assorted percussion, surreal lyrics and a homemade instrument fashioned from what looked like a detergent bottle were all used to bizarre effect.

Before taking the stage, Alex Thompson of The Riff Raff was basking in semi-disbelief that Mick Jones had borrowed his guitar for tonight’s gig. He talked of how his band had come on leaps and bounds since Strummerville had secured them rehearsal time at Camden’s Roundhouse and studio slots at Notting Hill’s Sarm West. Onstage, the six-piece group, including a besuited cellist, whipped up a joyous storm shot with the kind of diverse musical strains which seem integral to artists affliated with the Strummer camp.

The Rotten Hill Gang were something of a revelation, coming on like Dickensian wide boys transplanted into Notting Hill’s yuppie-besieged artists’ community, flying the neighbourhood’s tattered flag with a splash of old school South Bronx vigour. Bassist Gary Stonadge and guitarist Andre Shapps were in later incarnations of Mick Jones’ post-Clash sonic foragers Big Audio Dynamite, but it still must have come as a bit of shock to see their old boss saunter onstage with a beer and a Telecaster, primed and ready to play. Fronted by rabble-rousing street rapper Reds and propelled by the stunning operatic range of Krystin Cummins, the group powered through a fearsome hybrid of thunderous hip-hop-funk grooves, scathing guitar racket and ingenious vocal interplay (think everything from P-Funk chorale to Music Hall).

In 32 years of seeing Mick Jones take stages everywhere, from New York’s Roseland Ballroom to London’s Roxy, I’ve rarely seen him look so relaxed as he did tonight. Swapping his old Clash strut for a relaxed, syncopated stroll, he smiled his way through the set. I first encountered Mick in Mott The Hoople’s dressing rooms and here he is, 37 years later, joining in a raucous update of Mott anthem All The Young Dudes (‘If Beyoncé can do it…’, he reasoned afterwards). For the finale, the ex-Clash man brought out a guest whose reaction mirrored that of the very surprised crowd. Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ Huey Morgan, in town following a tour of Russia and now roped into a take on Andy Williams’ Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, tore the roof off as The Tabernacle was suddenly gripped by that indefinable, electric Strummer vibe, the atmosphere redolent of Joe’s legendary camp fire singalongs.

The festivities were set to continue through the night at the nearby Globe, another old Strummer haunt, at which point MOJO made its excuses and skipped jauntily into the night, bathed in the sort of positive energy glow that came with every one of those old Strummer encounters. You really should have been there.

The Tabernacle, London
Sunday, December 21

http://www.mojo4music.com/blog/2008/12/strummerville_christmas_benefi.html

Strummerville gives hope to budding musicians

Damien Hirst and other friends of the late Joe Strummer are helping young bands to get started.

by Ed Potton, The Times Online

Joe Strummer was known, in his later years at least, as one of rock’s most hospitable men. But Strummerville, the musical charity set up by family and friends after the death of the Clash frontman in 2002, is based in one of the least welcoming places in Christendom.

To get there, you have to negotiate a maze of concrete and barbed wire. Overhead, traffic thunders along the Westway, the flyover that hangs over this corner of West London like a long grey cloud. Next door is a miserable-looking camp of Gypsies, one of whose dogs sinks its teeth into my leg as I walk past. Wiping the blood off, I finally locate, with considerable relief, Strummerville HQ, a bohemian oasis in the apocalyptic gloom.

The charity has been kept afloat by fundraisers, including a Christmas bash this Sunday and all-night summer parties on this sport attended by the likes of Kate Moss and Lily Allen. But a crucial boost was a £960,000 donation from Damien Hirst, from a specially commissioned painting he sold. “After Joe died we wanted to create something that he would have approved of,” explains Hirst, himself inspired to become an artist by Strummer. “We set up Strummerville as a way of continuing what he believed in and offering opportunities to budding musicians who otherwise have little chance of getting their music out there.”

On this December day the doors of a small auditorium are flung wide open. Five young men and one woman are belting out fine, ska-inflected tunes against a backdrop of leopardskin sofas, glitterballs and Native American ornaments. They are Riff Raff, one of a growing number of young British bands who have benefited in these tough times from facilities and advice provided by Strummerville.

“It’s meant the world to us,” says Alex Thompson, their singer-songwriter, clambering off the stage. “Without it we were struggling, especially in the credit crunch: we have no money, we’re all on the dole.” Strummer, he says, was “massively inspirational” for him, growing up in Coventry. “This whole area of the Westway has Joe’s name written all over it. How can you not be touched by the Clash?”

The stage and adjoining offices belong to Jason Mayall, the son of the guitarist John Mayall and a good friend of Strummer, who used to be a regular visitor here. The charity itself is based in a Portakabin that is plastered with Clash set lists, photographs of Strummer and quotes from the man himself: “Be keen, be eager”, “Be mythic, be prolific”. It’s run by Trish Whelan, a veteran of the music industry. “It’s so London-centric that it’s quite scary for bands who are from out of London,” she says, putting the kettle on and examining my dog bite.

Riff Raff first heard about Strummerville from the London musical community and their regular stage at Glastonbury. Thompson had been sending Whelan demos for several years, and the band had tweaked their style following her feedback. Then, three months ago, the charity began helping them out with rehearsal costs, including the use of their room at the Roundhouse in North London, where musicians can borrow instruments and practise for £1 an hour each.

Whelan also used her contacts to get the band a weekend at Trevor Horn’s legendary SARM West Studios in Notting Hill. “Grace Jones recorded there,” Thompson smiles. “I think Stairway to Heaven was recorded in the top room; Prodigy and Basement Jaxx are in there at the moment, so it’s a buzzing little hive.”

As well as providing bursaries for rehearsal and recording, Strummerville also offers help and advice from mentors including musicians such as the former Clash drummer Topper Headon, agents, managers and top-line producers, including Nellee Hooper (Massive Attack, Björk). “Instead of saying, ‘Here’s your 500 quid, go off and we’ll never talk to you again’,” Whelan explains, “we’re saying, ‘Here’s your 500 quid and you can have an hour on the phone over the next six months with one of these people’. ”

Strummer’s widow Lucinda is on the board of trustees, alongside Hirst and Strummer’s two daughters from a previous relationship. “There was such an overwhelming reaction to the sad loss of Joe and so many people who wanted to make a contribution to charity to honour the impact he had on them,” she says. “So in a way Strummerville gave birth to itself.”

Although the Clash remain icons for many, some have doubted the punk credentials of Strummer, the son of a diplomat who was as much of a canny opportunist as he was a counter-cultural firebrand. But his commitment to socio-political causes was unarguable, from his work for the antiracism movement and his support for Aids charities to his major role in setting up the CarbonNeutral Company, dedicated to planting trees in various parts of the world.

Strummerville continues to champion causes that would have captured his imagination, such as the fight against new legislation requiring music promoters to provide detailed information about the type of music their acts are playing. It is “ultimately racist”, says Whelan, an attempt to target basement and garage events that often have large black and Asian audiences. “The important thing is that Joe would have said: ‘Wicked, that’s a good idea, let’s help them’.”

Another supporter is the film-maker Julien Temple. For his 2007 documentary Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, Temple interviewed his subjects beside campfires, a setting reminiscent of Strummer’s all-night gatherings at the Glastonbury Festival, where guests included Hirst, Keith Allen, Temple and his wife Amanda. Strummer’s worldview, more hippy than punk in many ways, is especially apposite in today’s troubled times, Temple believes. “As time goes by, Joe’s ways of seeing things just seem to get more and more relevant,” he says.

Indeed, Strummer’s famous campfires form the basis of another Strummerville project, a series of music therapy events to be held outside various British cites in 2009. Whelan hopes to bus out disadvantaged kids to the countryside, plonk them down next to campfires, give them instruments and let them jam away. For anyone pondering the wisdom of letting wayward kids loose with fire, Whelan promises that wardens will be on hand.

Monday will be the sixth anniversary of Strummer’s death, from a congenital heart defect, at the age of 50. “All of us try to keep his memory alive in some way,” Temple says, “but it’s great to know that Strummerville exists out there in the wider world and is working to turn people on to those things that Joe stood for.”

For Whelan, a moment of vindication came when she heard Riff Raff’s latest demo. “I thought to myself, ‘God, you’re starting to sound really good’.” The band have a series of gigs lined up for the new year, and hope to release their debut single, My Blood is Brave, in February. “Strummerville has grabbed us up by our bootstraps and pulled us into 2009,” Thompson smiles.

It’s a heartening thought as I wander off in search of a tetanus jab.

Strummerville Summer Sessions 2009

Album Info:
In the summer of 2009 we showcased 14 of our bands in a heatwave. This is our first album – The Strummerville Summer Sessions 2009. You can share this player on your website, myspace, facebook and twitter profiles. All tracks are available for free download.

Album Track List:

  1. Goodtimes Goodtimes – Love
  2. Nat Jenkins – Message
  3. Dan Smith – Daniel In The Den
  4. Bill Coleman – Your Hands Were Made For Working
  5. Cheka – The Fool
  6. Wild Wolves – Honey
  7. DeKay – The Estates
  8. Illegitimate Sons of the King – I’ll do It
  9. The Wutars – Oh La La
  10. Paper Plane Pilots – Reign In Your Applause
  11. The Penny Black Remedy – 95 Charing Cross Road
  12. Handshake – Lockdown
  13. Jamie Ley – Goodbye
  14. Beans On Toast – I’m Not That Old Sunshine

A big thank you to all our bands.

Loads of Love,
Strummerville x