Search

Upton Park melodica man takes silver in folk festival

PUBLISHED: 17:17 29 August 2017

Musician, Daren Banarsë with his melodia.

Musician, Daren Banarsë with his melodia.

Vickie Flores/Archant

A Newham musician scooped a silver medal at one of Ireland’s largest folk music festivals.

Daren Banarsë won the prize in the “miscellaneous instrument” category at the All-Ireland Fleadh (Festival) in Ennis, County Clare.

Around 3,000 participants performed, danced and sang in the event’s 180 competitions, watched by an estimated 400,000 people.

The 45-year old from Harold Road, Upton Park, played four solo pieces on a wooden melodica – a harmonica-like instrument with a keyboard.

He played 12 minutes of traditional songs including a reel, jig, hornpipe and the slow air Slán le Máighe (Farewell to the Maigue).

The artist and composer, who has written music for television programmes like Top Gear, the Apprentice and Horizon, made the instrument by hand at his workshop in Walthamstow.

Before competing against 17 competitors in the grand final, he had to win two qualifying rounds in the UK.

“I thought I’d just give it a try,” he said. “I needed some experience of playing under pressure.

“So I was surprised when I got through these two rounds and then went to Ireland – it’s hard to not follow through on something like that.”

Daren was born in London to Irish and Indian parents. He decided to practice playing Irish traditional music around 10 years ago, performing in pubs around the city to refine his technique.

He said the melodica, “which is normally a toy instrument”, was well-suited to a wide range of musical genres.

“I’m really interested in using the melodica as a classical instrument as well, so I’ve used it in a lot of recordings on TV,” he said, adding: “People normally think it’s an accordion or a mouth organ, or something similar.”

He said: “What I don’t like about an accordion is you’re a bit limited on the expression you can get with it.”

“The difference with a melodica is you can use your lungs. You can have some great instrument expression.

“The same sort of stuff you could do if you were singing, or if you were carrying a flute, you can put the same expression into a melodica.”

Latest Newham Stories

49 minutes ago

Essex bowling coach Dimi Mascarenhas says the defending county champions must do better with bat and ball after a difficult second day against Nottinghamshire at Chelmsford.

Simon Harmer
18:39

A dominant performance with bat and ball over two days carried Nottinghamshire into a strong position to end a run of back-to-back Specsavers County Championship defeats and leapfrog opponents Essex in the table.

Jamie Porter
17:30

Lakeside Hammers are gearing up for important back-to-back fixtures against strongly fancied Scunthorpe this weekend.

Richard Lawson
16:25

Read our World Cup blog over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews game one on day eight of the tournament

Christian Eriksen
16:00

Light heavyweight feature on undercard of bill headlined by WBC silver middleweight title fight between Martin Murray and Roberto Garcia

The Leyton Orient head coach revealed his admiration for Lionel Messi and backed the Argentinean to come good in Russia

Justin Edinburgh
14:30

England Hockey is delighted to announce that over half of all hockey clubs in England are now involved with our Your World Cup campaign.

United Kingdom

Officers are carrying out random checks around London City Airport to crack down on waste crime, thefts, and dangerous vehicles on the roads.

Met Police

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Read more

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now