The Musical Memories Cafe

The Musical Memories Cafe

This is pretty much the perfect gig. It's a sunny morning in the upstairs room of the Moorings and we're listening to Will Johnson, Wes Finch, Matt Hernandez, Jill Davis and Alan Mitchell working some acoustic magic on everything from Sinatra to Flamenco via the Beatles. And the lovely audience are completely connected, helping out enthusiastically with backing vocals, tackling an exotic selection of percussion gadgetry, and letting the musicians know how much they are enjoying the performance.

Of course there's more happening here than simple entertainment. Many of the audience are people living with dementia and the Musical Memories Cafe makes a big difference to their lives. As organiser Linda O'Sullivan, from Age UK Warwickshire, explains, there is a rich connection between music and memory; hearing familiar tunes can act as a bridge to recalling experiences associated with those songs. In fact the initial inspiration for the cafe was Linda's personal experience as her own mother aged, initially withdrawing from the world but later reconnecting in response to hearing familiar music with a strong personal connection.

These relaxed and well-organised sessions also make for a satisfying experience for the musicians. Appreciative audiences and daytime gigs are always welcome and it's deeply satisfying to give something back to the community - "Karma points" as Wes thoughtfully describes it.

The programme is very much funded by the local community. The Moorings kindly provides the room and coffee while running costs are covered not only by donations from local businesses but also by sales of an excellent CD featuring live music from the Cafe. Thanks to the generosity of the community, the cafe is funded for the immediate future and Age UK are now planning to start a second session at the Saxon Mill.

If you'd like to buy the CD, volunteer as a musician, or support the cafe in other ways, please contact Linda on 07789 003450.

The cafe runs on the last Monday every month (except bank holidays) from 10AM to noon. You can find out more at


Related articles

Matt Hernandez at the Wild Boar

Matt Hernandez, a lovely guy with a fine line in Flamenco, banter and nappy-changing.
 [1 image] More