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Musical event aims to lift children's hearts ; BEANBAG MUSIC CLUBBeanbag Music Club - the musical event for under- 6s that takes place on beanbags in...

November 1, 2013


Musical event aims to lift children's hearts ; BEANBAG MUSIC CLUBBeanbag Music Club - the musical event for under- 6s that takes place on beanbags in the Royal Concert Hall foyer - returns tomorrow. Erik Petersen spoke to Rikki Thomas-Martinez, of Beanbag regulars Mas Y Mas, about the band's latest Beanbag gig

Mas Y Mas are Beanbag regulars now. For anyone not familiar with the concept, what's Beanbag all about? It's an excellent programme run by the Royal Concert Hall to introduce young people to music and music making. There are many different shows available throughout the year. The new show I have written is about animals with some exciting and interactive songs in English and Spanish.

When you're planning out a Beanbag show, what are your goals? The idea of Mas Y Mas at the Beanbag Music Club is for young people to be able to experience music of quality and depth in a way that is accessible to them. We want to lift up the stage curtain and show them how it's done and to inspire them to take up music, or at least that they can participate in music making and feel good.

How is it different writing songs for children? These songs are not written as children's songs, but as songs that are for everyone and suitable for children. They are written, played, performed and recorded with the same power, energy and heart as the rest of our material.

I think it is important not to patronise young people with what adults often decide is kids' music. Children can feel, enjoy and be moved by the most sophisticated music.

Also I think the way [fellow band-members] Wayne, Rich and I present them is very similar to our regular shows: we want to create a good vibe and enjoy ourselves with the audience.

What does writing lyrics in several languages do for the songs? The fact that the songs are in Spanish and English means that the music opens doors to other places in the listener. It has been found that when people listen to other languages, especially in music, even if they can't understand them, it helps them learn those languages much more effectively.

I think there is also something liberating about hearing singing in a language you don't necessarily understand - it opens the imagination and helps connects us with other people and cultures.

I am half-Spanish and half-British and was brought up bilingual; this enabled me to learn other languages easily. I write songs in English, Spanish and French because it just comes out like that naturally. People often class us as a salsa band, that kind of thing - but actually it's a real mix of Spanish/Latin and British influences expressed through original songs and approaches to how we put it all together. We are all massive Hendrix and Dylan fans in the band and that's in there too!

In the Beanbag Music Club shows, we introduce young people to other styles and sounds of music in contrast to the commercial pop full of dubious values, product placement and relentless marketing that they are inescapably and aggressively exposed to. So much music- making in the media is competitive, about winning, coming first and awards - we believe in making music that lifts the heart, has a positive message and brings people together.

Beanbag Music Club featuring Mas Y Mas is tomorrow. Shows are at 11am, 1.15pm and 3pm. Tickets are Pounds 7, Pounds 6 if you book three or more Beanbag concerts. If attending the 1.15pm concert, take your lunch for a 1pm picnic with Beanie Bear. Book tickets on, 0115 989 5555 or in person at the Royal Concert Hall box office.

Their next Nottingham gig for grown-ups is at the Nottingham Contemporary cafe-bar at 9pm on Saturday, November 9.

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