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Drumming up support

Posted on April 15, 2015 by Richard Amery

Mike Spencer of the Geomatic Attic is as happy to help out in the community as he is happy to help excellent bands get Lethbridge gigs.
So when Spencer reached out to Ottawa-based blues rock trio MonkeyJunk to play a pair of fundraising shows for the U of L Global Drums with old friends Cousin Harley, they were happy to oblige.
“I don’t know a lot about Global Drums, but Mike Spencer and the Geomatic Attic have always been good to us and I trust Mike implicitly. He spearheaded the whole thing,” said MonkeyJunk baritone guitarist/vocalist/harmonica player Steve Marriner, taking a break from putting the finishing touches on the band’s fourth CD with his bandmates, guitarist Tony D and drummer Matt Sobb.
He said the band always looks forward to playing Alberta, where the trio have always had a warm welcome.
“Alberta is the strongest market we play. Our Edmonton/St. Albert show is already sold out and it’s a 500-plus theatre; Calgary is always good and Mike Spencer and the Geomatic Attic has always been great to us in Lethbridge,” he enthused.
“We’ll probably play a few of the new songs. Just to whet your appetite for more MonkeyJunk,” he said.
This tour will last three weeks until it ends in White Rock, B.C., after which the band will return home to Ottawa and finish their CD for a couple weeks, then fly out to the east coast for a tour of the Maritimes including Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
“We’ll probably have a busier festival season next year with the new CD out,” he said.
U of L Global Drums director Adam Mason is pleased with all the support from the community the group receives.
“I formed the group in 2006. We began just by practising Trinidad and African drums and it has grown to the largest collection in Western Canada and probably Canada,” Mason said, adding the group now has 40 members who play in a variety of Brazilian Samba, Japanese Taiko, Polynesian and African ensembles under the banner of Global Drums.
He said most of the members are University of Lethbridge students though their numbers also include faculty.
“It’s 40 members which is impressive because most ensembles are about eight people,” he said.
“We also have people who work in IT and public school teachers who take what they’ve learned with us to their students,” he said, adding they have had students from Brazil and Japan in the group who have taught the group new techniques.
“We look forward to having those folks involved who come and share their traditional music with us,” he continued.
The group takes their music on the road. They are going to Hawaii again next month and have also toured in Trinidad, Japan, London, Amsterdam and Florida.
“We’ve had a great deal of support from the community and organizations like the Geomatic Attic,” he said.
They raise funds through a variety of performances including their annual spring concerts, which took place April 10 and 11 at the University Theatre and events like the Geomatic Attic’s two special concerts this week including a dinner show with Vancouver rockabilly Cousin Harley at the Mocha Cabana, April 14. Doors open at 5 p.m., the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $82.50. And there is an April 15 show at the German Canadian Club. The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets for that show are $42.50 and also features Cousin Harley.

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