Drumming up a hit

Some of the members of Anvil Street Drummers who have recorded their debut album
Some of the members of Anvil Street Drummers who have recorded their debut album

A LITTLE piece of Brazil’s most thrilling festivals has arrived in Wigan with the launch of a debut CD by a band of percussionists.

Samba group the Anvil Street Drummers, founded around seven years ago, has released a self-titled album with 12 tracks of thunderous drumming and intricate rhythms covering everything from Latin to funk to rock riffs.

The 20-piece band, run by Wigan Music Service employee Chris Perry, was also joined by a group of talented youngsters from the celebrated Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra on the album, recorded in a long weekend at the music service’s base in Hindley.

The band launched its work with an event at the Royal Oak pub on Standishgate, where it briefly gained a new member in guest of honour Coun Myra Whiteside, the Mayor of Wigan.

Chris, from Swinley, said: “The album really shows off the range of instruments and styles the band plays. It’s not all samba, because to be honest a whole CD of that would drive me a little insane.

“There’s lots of different kinds of music, and having the jazz orchestra players worked a treat because they really brought the melodic material to life.

“We’re hoping to take a few of our drums down to the launch and get the Mayor joining in as well.

While Chris is responsible for the composing and arranging of nine of the album’s tracks, three pieces – titled The Blacksmith’s Wedding, Anvil Dance and Production Line – were written and arranged by Winstanley-based musician Stephen Knowles.

Stephen said: “Two of the pieces are new and one was an arrangement of a piece I originally wrote for a brass quartet.

“It’s the first time I’ve written for a samba band, so having the saxophones, trombones, trumpets and bass guitar played by the jazz orchestra musicians definitely made it easier.

“I do have a bit of a background in it because I used to do samba workshops with Chris, going into primary schools.

“I had a few initial difficulties and had to use a lot of block writing for the jazz players to stop them getting lost in the texture of all the drums, but I really enjoyed it and I’ve asked Chris if I can be involved if they do any more recordings,”

Chris, who studied classical percussion at Huddersfield University, founded the Anvil Street Drummers as part of a long-standing interest in samba music which began in the late 1990s. The band performs regularly at events around the borough and has also made trips further afield, including playing at carnivals in Manchester, visiting Wigan’s French twin town Angers and touring Germany.