More than 60 people filled the Small World theatre, Cardigan on Saturday for MaDCaff, Ceredigion’s all-new open café, showcasing the talents of musicians affected by mental health.
People came to enjoy an eclectic variety of music and dance acts, performed by people living with mental illness and to take the opportunity to get talking
about mental health.
On arrival MaDCaff guests were treated to Rachel Hargrave on djembe (drum) and Peter Stacey on Balafon, a wooden xylophone with gourds
underneath to carry the sound out.
After getting settled in with tea and cake, the event was opened by Miranda Betts, MaDCaff founder.
Singer-songwriter and guitarist, Dai Sharkey got the performances started. Dai’s songs were an eclectic mix of original material, and included songs from
his recent album ‘Schizophrenic’.
Next up were the Crazy Beaches, MaDCaff’s very own ‘house-band’ featuring Miranda Betts on ukulele, Lucy Edwards on guitar, and Hannah Schafer on
bass. They performed an entertaining cover of the standard, ‘All of Me’, followed by two of Miranda’s own songs, ‘Bluebells’ & ‘Country Girl’.
Then came some amazing spoken word poetry from Helen Lovell, a Londonbased performance poet, about her experience of being in an asylum and suffering with depression.
The crowd was then treated to the guitar of Tom Gray, with stunning arrangements of jazz standards.
Maggie Nicols, jazz vocalist from Drefach Felindre then wowed the audience with her haunting rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’, as well as playing a
couple of her own self-penned songs, ‘Vivid Black’, a love song to the dark, and ‘Change’ a song about holding on when things get tough.
Rachel Hargrave’s drum group, who meet weekly at Small World, then played and got people up and dancing immediately!
This was followed by a music and dance piece from Marc Gordon and Miranda Betts.
Last, but by no means least, were Wi-fi Banana, Steve Acworth and Lucy Edwards who met at the previous MaDCaff, with their thrilling version of Fever, and Careless love.
At the end of the evening there was still time for all the musicians to jam together.
"This was one of the highlights of the event", said Miranda Betts, founder, "people were actually playing together for the first time, and all this was happening as volunteers were packing up the event.
MaDCaff is funded by Time to Change Wales, the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. Programme Manager Ant Metcalfe said: “MaDCaff has been a huge success! It’s great to see people using music, dance and creativity to start conversations about mental health. After all, you don’t have to be an expert to be a good friend – just asking someone how they’re feeling can make a
real difference. MaDCaff is a really fun way of starting those conversations and getting people together, but it hopefully also gives people the confidence
to talk about mental health in their day to day lives. ”
The next event takes place at the Morlan Centre, Aberystwyth, on May 16, 4.30pmto 7pm.
Mental health problems affect one in four people a year. Time to Change Wales is the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems in Wales. For further information contact Miranda on email@example.com. Or visit Facebook or at the blog, madcaff.wordpress.com.