MaDCaff are really happy about the successful event we held last Saturday at Small World Theatre, Cardigan. More than fifty people came out to enjoy an eclectic variety of music and dance acts, performed by people living with mental illness.
We were really delighted that there were so many performers eager to get on stage and showcase such a diversity of talents and styles.
On arrival MaDCaff guests were treated to Rachel Hargrave on djembe (drum) and Peter Stacey on Balafon, a wooden xylophone with gourds underneath to carry the sound out.
After getting settled in with tea and cake, the event was opened by Miranda Betts, MaDCaff founder.
Then we heard from singer-songwriter and guitarist, Dai Sharkey. Dai’s songs were an eclectic mix of original material, and included songs from his recent album ‘Schizophrenic’.
Next up were the Crazy Beaches, MaDCaff’s very own ‘house-band’ featuring Miranda Betts on ukulele, Lucy Edwards on guitar, and Hannah Schafer on bass. They performed an entertaining cover of the standard, ‘All of Me’, followed by two of Miranda’s own songs, ‘Bluebells’ & ‘Country Girl’.
Then we heard some amazing spoken word poetry from Zulie Stenson, a London-based performance poet, about her experience of depression. This was followed by an endearing poem about her first kiss.
Next up we were treated to the guitar of Tom Gray. Tom played us a couple of stunning arrangements of jazz standards.
Maggie Nicols, jazz vocalist from Drefach Felindre then wowed the audience with her haunting rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’, as well as playing us a couple of her own self-penned songs, ‘Vivid Black’, a love song to the dark, and ‘Change’ a song about holding on when things get tough.
Rachel Hargrave’s drum group who meet weekly at Small World then played for us. People were up and dancing immediately!
This was followed by a music and dance improvisation from Marc Gordon and Miranda Betts. Miranda explained that she was heavier/fatter than usual due to the mental health medication she takes, but that this did not deter her from performing a short improvisation with guitarist Marc Gordon.
Last, but by no means least were Wi-fi Banana, Steve Acworth and Lucy Edwards with their thrilling version of Fever, and Careless love.
At the end of the evening there was still time for all the musicians to jam together. ‘This was one of the highlights of the event’, said Miranda Betts, founder as ‘people were actually playing together for the first time, and all this was happening as volunteers were packing up the event.
MaDCaff is funded by Time to Change Wales, the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. Programme Manager Ant Metcalfe said: “MaDCaff has been a huge success! It’s great to see people using music, dance and creativity to start conversations about mental health. After all, you don’t have to be an expert to be a good friend – just asking someone how they’re feeling can make a real difference. MaDCaff is a really fun way of starting those conversations and getting people together, but it hopefully also gives people the confidence to talk about mental health in their day to day lives. If you missed it, make sure you get to the next event!”
We are very excited about our next event which takes place at the Morlan Centre, Aberystwyth, on Friday May 16th, from 4.30pm-7pm. Everyone welcome.
The feedback we received was great, so thanks to everyone who stuck stickers on the feedback sheets. There will be more ways than ever to give us your feedback at the next MaDCaff. Alternatively, use the feedback form, right here on our blog to leave us your comments. All in all a good time was had by all.
For the full set of photos, see our Media page.