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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Keen

An invite to bingo

Musician: Nat Keen (guitar, vocals and autoharp)

A new hit is on the way! Songwriting content with JR is now being churned out like a space-aged industrial butter churning machine; smooth, rapid and tasty. Today we were graced with visits from Spitz top brass Jane Glitre (director) and Thom Rowlands (general manager) who were excited to see the main man in action and even chimed in with some suggestions for the new track, “I reckon it could be something funky”. It's true, we've had 'Mother', a reflective auto-biographical account of his early life, set in a ballad-like idiom. Then came 'Why Does Love Hurt So Much', an upbeat reggae number, and now we had the makings of a new bluesy-funk number about friendship which is already sounding promising. Stay tuned...

After this, I then went on the search for a new resident. We'd met her son in reception earlier and Fatma (Manager of BSL) had introduced him to us and our work. He was understandably keen for his newly-arrived mother to have the opportunity to hear some live music as it was clearly a very important part of her life. I enquired about any particular artists that she may like and was pleased with the broad range of legendary musicians that came back as a reply. Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell etc....When I eventually found the new resident's room, she was fast asleep but I offered my services nevertheless and began to play some jazz close enough that she might hear a faint whisper of sound as she floated in and out of her slumber. Her son listened whilst organising the room and communicated that she was hearing it in some form and thanked me.

I then played for resident SR, who I hadn't spent a musical moment with for a long time. It was lovely to reconnect and we played through her favourite Bob Marley songs which seemed to go down nicely, so nicely that I got a marriage proposal and an invite to bingo! This was single-handedly and without question the most positive reaction to music that I've ever received.

After this, I played for a group of three people on the 2nd floor, ML, Ms GH and her son. ML seemed very upset about something and at times it was challenging to meet her frustrations with music whilst simultaneously keeping the more-engaged listeners engaged and not distracted by her loud protestations. After a while, the impasse was resolved by a carer offering her a lovely brownie and with that, I had a captive audience and found some repertoire that pleased everybody.

At the end of the day I attempted to take the auto harp to a few residents who ended up being unavailable. JG, however, met me with a warm smile and invited me into her room where I proceeded to explain the workings of this strange harp instrument. I offered her the opportunity to play it but eventually she preferred to watch me play and together we improvised a wintery piece together.

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