Full steam ahead

Co-founder of Pickering - Polly Taylor

Next week, Trinity Theatre welcomes Steamchicken – a troupe who play a funky fusion of ceilidh, jazz, blues and soul music. One of its musicians, Becky Eden-Green, who grew up in this area, tells the Times why these festival veterans are looking forward to coming to town…

STEAMCHICKEN was formed in 1993 by three friends who shared the common interest
of folk music, festivals and beer. When it started it was a three-piece ceilidh dance
band for a good few years, but gradually family members and their children started joining in. Most went off to university, where they recruited even more members,
one of whom was me!

That was five years ago, when my friend, Matt Crum, the only one of my group of Leeds University friends who actually made any money from gigging, revealed he often headed off around the country to play at folk festivals with his dad.

In our last year of university, a group of us went to Warwick Folk Festival and ended up jamming with this magical band called Steamchicken. I never really left after that.

When people ask how the band got their name, I always say I’ve never really been sure as it occurred long before my time. Rumour has it that they were in a pub and Bill, one of the founders, told a joke – but it’s probably best not to ask more.

I play clarinet, alto saxophone and sing occasional backing vocals in the band, and have
recently relinquished the position of occasional bass guitarist in favour of our full-time bass player, the fabulous Tim Yates.

Our singer, Amy Kakoura, is half Greek and Irish and has been mining both country’s traditional forms for song ideas. She trained in musical theatre and joined the band after I worked with her on a musical and the previous singer had moved away.

For the past five years I’ve been in the band we’ve played in some amazing places. One of the highlights was travelling to Spain to play on an outdoor stage at Costa del Folk in Benalmàdena – the weather was beautiful and we met loads of other awesome bands out there.

Another memorable time was at Sidmouth Folk Week, when the heavens opened and the crowd just kept dancing, completely ignoring the fact that they were soaked through.

Playing at Trinity next Thursday night will be a kind of homecoming for me as I grew up in Kent and was very involved in local youth music opportunities through the likes of Kent Music School and Big Brother’s Little Brother.

I also taught music at Hillview School for Girls in Tonbridge after I finished university. Young people are inspiring, and young musicians are even more brilliant. It was great being able to help them to discover how great music can be and watch them constantly surprise me.

The performing arts department at Hillview continues to go from strength to strength and it was great to be a part of it.

I have taken the school to do concerts at Trinity Theatre in the past, but this will be my first time playing with a band that I have not been teaching. It is a lovely venue and I’m excited to introduce the band to the joys of ‘Sunny Tunny’.

I am now settled in Sheffield, where I work as a musician in healthcare. I set up Brightside Music CIC with a fellow musician and we take interactive live music into hospital settings across Yorkshire. But I love being in Steamchicken as the band are one of the most agreeable groups of people in my life and I love getting to spend time with
them. Most people in my office think I’m a rock star when I go on tour, and there really isn’t a downside to doing that. If anything, having to maintain a normal life in between gigs is what can sometimes be a challenge!

See Steamchicken perform at Trinity Theatre on Thursday March 8 at 8pm. Tickets cost £18 and can be booked at www.trinitytheatre.net


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