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New band to hold free concert on Mother’s Day

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RNB will perform a free concert on Mother’s Day at Bungalow 56. From left: Cleveland Astwood, Kevin Maybury and Jonathan Walker (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Some people are winding down at 65; Kevin Maybury is cranking up the volume.

On Sunday he and his long-time friends Cleveland Astwood and Jonathan Walker will give a free concert as they debut their new band, RNB.

Their weekly shows at Bungalow 56 will feature music from the 60s, 70s and 80s by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and other artists from that era.

Mr Walker will sing and Mr Astwood will play bass and guitar.

Members of RNB from left, Jonathan Walker, Kevin Maybury and Cleveland Astwood (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

“It is going to be live, and it is going to be very raw and exciting,” he said. “Our sound is going to be very solid and rhythm-driven. Jonathan has a very raspy, soulful vocal side. He did some background vocals for Bobby Brown a while back.”

According to Mr Maybury, the target is people aged 40 and over.

“That is not to say that people under that age won’t appreciate it. But we are aiming for a market that we feel is not getting quality live professional entertainment. Those are the middle-aged people. The DJs can handle the younger crowd.”

He has been best friends with Mr Astwood since the age of five when they met at West Pembroke Primary School.

Norman Astwood, Mr Astwood’s father, was a musician.

“I was messing around on the drums. His father heard me and thought I had rhythm. So he suggested I take lessons.”

At 16 he signed up with “the father of drums”, Clarence “Tootsie” Bean.

“He lived right opposite TCD in a house on top of the hill,” Mr Maybury said. “He was a very patient teacher and very easy going. He made you feel comfortable. Clevie took a few lessons with him also.”

A year later, Mr Maybury was in his bedroom when Stefan Hinds knocked on the door and invited him to audition for his band, F Troop, which backed a male trio, Formula Three.

Kevin Maybury will at perform a free concert with his band RNB on Mother’s Day (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

“We also became the house band for the old Rosebank Theatre,” Mr Maybury said. “The Rosebank Theatre back then was like the Apollo Theatre in New York. You had the people lined up outside. They had Battle of the Bands and Battle of the Groups. Secondary schools formed groups. In one show there would be 12 participants at least.

“There were a lot of house parties. There were a lot of bands that came in and promoters were bringing in R & B artists and reggae artists. Bermuda was popping and tourism was popping. Those were the best years of my life.”

Meanwhile, Mr Astwood started playing music with his father and another musician, Al Davis, at the old Clayhouse Inn. He then worked as a recording engineer and producer here, in the United States and Israel.

For a while in the 1980s, the pair went their separate ways.

RNB at Bungalow 56. From left, Cleveland Astwood, Kevin Maybury and Jonathan Walker (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

“We both did some touring,” said Mr Maybury, who retires as maintenance officer of Somersfield Academy in August and draws a weekly political cartoon for The Royal Gazette.

“I toured on cruise ships with Jimmy O’Connor and his band, The Happening BDA. We went to 15 Caribbean islands, Europe, South America and Africa. This was around 1984. It was a great time. We saw the world and grew as musicians. There was a lot of exposure when you travel like that.”

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, particularly musicians who haven’t had “many venues to play at in the last two years”, he added.

Mr Maybury ran the Bermuda Drum Academy until March 2020 when Covid-19 shuttered the business. On the plus side, the downtime gave the trio time to strategise their new band.

“We have been putting together a repertoire for the last year-and-a-half,” Mr Maybury said. “It has been on and off.”

His advice to young artists and musicians coming along today is to “find your style”.

“We are all individuals. There are six billion people in the world and six billion fingerprint designs – that is what I call variety.”

Unplugged Sundays featuring RNB Live begins at 4pm at Bungalow 56 at 56 Reid Street, upstairs, directly across the street from the Vasco da Gama Club. Admission is free. For more information: rnbbda@gmail.com; 536-4316.

Lifestyle profiles the island’s senior citizens every Wednesday. Contact Jessie Moniz Hardy on 278-0150 or jmhardy@royalgazette.com with the full name and contact details and the reason you are suggesting them

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Published May 04, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated May 05, 2022 at 7:44 am)

New band to hold free concert on Mother’s Day

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