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Cream of Stratford musicians come together for Ukraine fundraiser on Sunday - supergroup rendition of Monkey Man promised

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SOME of Stratford’s best musicians are getting together to support the people of Ukraine, with a one-off fundraising gig at Stratford Play House on Sunday (22nd May).

An evening of rock’n’roll and ska classics is promised, with a line-up that includes The Appleseeds, the Play House Band and, for one night only, Dr Alfonzo’s Bearded Pancake Band, Stratford’s very own super group, will be forming. Combining musicians from The Dr Teeth Big Band, Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast, Scratchy Beard and some very special guests, they will be playing favourite music from The Blues Brothers to Steely Dan and everything in between.

Musicians outside Stratford PlayHouse who will be raising money for Ukraine. Photo: Mark Williamson S44/5/22/0912. (56592563)
Musicians outside Stratford PlayHouse who will be raising money for Ukraine. Photo: Mark Williamson S44/5/22/0912. (56592563)

Last band on stage are The Skalectrics who promise a “stomping ska monster bringing you the best of 80s ska and 2-tone music” (including Madness, The Specials, Bad Manners, The Selecter and The Maytals).

However before the night finishes, all the bands will return to the stage to give a rousing version of ska classic Monkey Man.

The idea came from local music promoter and musician Dionne Sambrook, who is the sax player for The Skalectrics and helps run Stratford Jazz Club. Dionne said: “Like many others, I have been horrified by what is happening in Ukraine and wanted to do something positive to help the innocent people who have been affected by the war. My fellow bandmate Nick Jasko is half-Ukrainian and has several family members in Ukraine, so The Skalectrics has a connection and has been raising money over the past few months to support Ukraine. Bringing together many of the amazing and talented musicians from around Stratford hopefully means we can raise even more money! Huge thanks to all the fantastic musicians how have offered to support this cause.

The Skalectrics
The Skalectrics

“I invite everyone to book a ticket and come along to sing and dance with us - we are keeping the ticket price low (£5) to encourage people to attend, but be warned, we will try and persuade you to donate what you can and give generously on the night. We also extend a warm invitation to Ukrainian guests or any other displaced families currently staying in the area – you are welcome to attend for free and share in the fantastic music and culture we enjoy here in Stratford.”

Skalectrics’ keyboard player Nick told the Herald about his connection with Ukraine. He said: “My dad, Pawo, was from Ukraine and my mum was from Italy. We were brought up here and went to Ukrainian school on a Saturday. Dad would talk to us in Ukrainian, so we can speak a bit and would go and visit the country.

“I’m in contact with my cousins out there. My cousin Serhiy and his wife Victoria have fled with their adult daughter Christina – and their parrot – to Italy where they are staying with my brother. But lots of relatives are still in Ukraine and I’m in regular contact with them and they share stories of hearing sirens non-stop. We want to do what we can to help. This is our second fundraising concert – the last one in Banbury raised £2,000.”

Nick’s dad passed away three years ago, with his mum dying a year later. Nick said: “We were meant to be visiting Ukraine in June to mark what would have been dad’s 100th birthday. We might not make that but we hope to go back before too long.”

Sunday’s concert starts at 6.30pm with the event finishing at 10pm. There will be a raffle, merchandise and other ways to support or or donate to British-Ukrainian Aid on the night. Tickets are available from www.stratfordPlay.co.uk at £5.

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