About Robin

Robin Sunflower started playing the harmonica in the 80s, joining the legendary blues act Victor Brox and the Blues Train, gigging extensively throughout the UK. In the early 90s he made the transition to chromatic harmonica after hearing the amazing playing of Toots Thielemans.

His next project was “The Identical Twins” – an avant garde jazz-tinged comedy folk duo who made veggie rasher muffins, gazpacho and popcorn as part of an interactive stage show.   In 1997 he put together a 6 piece band for a 1 off stint at the Edinburgh Festival. The Woodbank Streetband went on to play 5 years running at Edinburgh, 4 years at Marlborough Jazz Festival, twice at Solfest, Castlebar Blues Festival (Ireland) and gigs in France from Tours to Bordeaux.

A personnel change a few years ago saw Woodbank become The Robin Sunflower Band.  2016 will see Robin’s band clocking up a 15 year resident slot at top Manchester club Big Hands.This year’s band features Dan Broad (guitar-Happy Mondays), Iain Mellor (Drums-Global Grooves) and occasional guests…John Ellis (keys-Baked A La Ska,Lily Allen,Tom Jones).Guest bass players including Matt Owens(baked A La Ska) in June, Danny Blomeley(Kyla Brox Band/ ex-Woodbank Streetband) in july…The Big Hands band is never the same twice(well hardly ever)

Robin has increasingly been invited to guest/session with other acts. Notable gigs include: Castle Howard banqueting hall with John Heliwell (Supertramp), Glastonbury Festival World Jazz Stage with Suns of Arqa, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall with Kirsty Almeida, support to Elbow with Indigo Jones.

Since 1999 Robin has also run a weekly night (Quack) currently at The White House, Stalybridge (Monday) and Beer Traders, Marple (Tuesday). The night consists of an invited guest playing a 40 minute set from 9pm, followed by an hour or so of open mic. The guest returns for a shorter closing set around 11pm. Robin plays with all the invited guests and some of the open mic contributors too.

“Baked a la Ska” is Robin’s latest band. The line-up of this football team sized super-group reading like a who’s who of the North West jazz scene. Their ska versions of 70s & 80s pop classics have resulted in packed dance floors at Manchester’s Band on the Wall, Kendal Calling festival and Liverpool’s Mathew Street fest.To date they have released four albums: Baked A LA Ska; Just Deserts; Gas Mark 3-The Slow Burner; Ska of Wonder (Christmas album).

A chance meeting at the Big Hands residency has resulted in Robin working with comedian Sophie Willan (2015 Magners new comedy award winner, BBC new comedy awards finalist)…Check out “The Wiggle Song”- More to come:)

2016 will see the 5th anniversary tour of the Toots Thielemans Birthday Tribute Band.This band re-forms at the end of April each year for one week only to play music from Toots’ repertoire (Midnight Cowboy, Bluesette…) Toots’ first major gigs were with Benny Goodman in 1949. He went on to play with George Shearing,Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Jaco Pastorius, Oscar Peterson and pop acts such as Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Julian Lennon. A man at the top of his game for over six decades. He retired from public performance aged 91 in 2013.

2015 saw Robin playing sessions for all manner of recording projects from spaghetti western library music to trance groove dance music (with Balaphonic) to dub reggae with Bakery Studio (expect a harmonica dub album in 2016 with Al “Breadwinner” Monkey). Other exciting recording projects are being planned for 2016 – Listen to this space!

Gigs

Date Band/Artist City Venue Country
Tour: Quack-Open mic & Guest.
25 Mar 19 Tas Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
26 Mar 19 Tas Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Amazing, highly unique show featuring HANG DRUMS(modern steel pan type percussion), SHAHI BAAJA(15 string indian banjo) & BAGLAMA(greek 3 string mandolin)…
Tour: Monthly Residency since 2001
27 Mar 19 The Robin Sunflower Band Manchester Big Hands UK
Time: 10:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Four musicians in a bar play whatever takes their fancy on the night-partly inspired by the vibe of the moment…could be 60s/70s/20s!, blues, reggae/ska, country-rock,gypsy-jazz… I’ve been doing this gig 18 years now-**I LOVE IT**
Tour: Quack-Open mic & Guest.
01 Apr 19 Kirsty Mcgee Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
02 Apr 19 Kirsty Mcgee Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Americana/nu-folk singer/songwriter with a string of highly acclaimed albums and songs including “Sandman” featured in the Danny Boyle film “Trance”.
08 Apr 19 Chris Bridges (Trombone-Baked A La Ska) Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street. Ace trombone player, Chris also sings and plays piano. Expect some ska,reggae,jazz,blues and singalong pop songs.
Tour: TOOTS TRIBUTE 2019- for what would have been his 97th birthday
09 Apr 19 Toots Thielemans Birthday Tribute Band Liverpool, LIVERPOOL ParrJazz@Jacaranda club UK
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: free?. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 21 Slater st. Robin Dewhurst—Keys John Sandham—Double Bass Danny Ward—Drums Me—Harmonicas
Tour: Quack-Open mic & Guest.
09 Apr 19 Jon Mambo Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Jon plays host as I take a week off the reins to play the first Toots Thielemans tribute gig of 2019. More than just a facilitator of the open mic session, Jon is very likely to treat you all to some Brazilian guitar gems.
14 Apr 19 Robin Sunflower’s DNA Stockport, Gtr Manchester Bakers Vaults UK
Time: 3:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Market place. Adrian Ingram—Guitar Darren Dutson-Bromley—Guitar Nick Lunn—Bass Guitar Playing Jazz& mellow blues
Tour: Quack-Open mic & Guest.
15 Apr 19 George Borowski Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
16 Apr 19 George Borowski Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Local legend, “guitar George” is a singer/songwriter who is sure to attract a crowd- get down early if you want a prime seat!
Tour: TOOTS TRIBUTE 2019- for what would have been his 97th birthday
20 Apr 19 Toots Thielemans Birthday Tribute Band Ambleside Zeffirellis-To Be Confirmed UK
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Ambleside. VEGGIE ITALIAN RESTAURANT–Good Food, Great Music! John Ellis—Keys Matt Owens—Double Bass Danny Ward —Drums Me—Harmonicas
Tour: Quack-Open mic & Guest.
22 Apr 19 Robin Sunflower-Solo & with friends Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
23 Apr 19 Robin Sunflower-Solo & with friends Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. A short set from me(piano,harmonicas,vocals playing my own songs) with plenty of time left for the poen mic session(limited next week)
Tour: TOOTS TRIBUTE 2019- for what would have been his 97th birthday
24 Apr 19 Toots Thielemans Birthday Tribute Band Manchester Big Hands UK
Time: 10:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. John Ellis—Keys John Sandham—Double Bass Danny Ward—Drums Me—Harmonicas
25 Apr 19 Toots Thielemans Birthday Tribute Band Lancashire Bar 39, Darwen UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. John Ellis—Keys Matt Owens—Double Bass Danny Ward—Drums Me—Harmonicas
28 Apr 19 Toots Thielemans Birthday Tribute Band Stockport The Railway, UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Heaton Norris. John Ellis—Keys Matt Owens—Double Bass Danny Ward—Drums Me—Harmonicas
29 Apr 19 Toots Thielemans Birthday Tribute Band Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street. Robin Dewhurst—Keys Matt Owens—Double Bass Danny Ward—Drums Me—Harmonicas Plus—Quack Open Mic
30 Apr 19 Toots Thielemans Birthday Tribute Band Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Robin Dewhurst—Keys Matt Owens—Double Bass Danny Ward—Keys Me—Harmonicas Plus—Quack open mic(space limited)
09 May 19 Robin Sunflower-Solo & with friends Marple, Stockport Samuel Oldknow UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 22 Market st. Looped piano, harmonicas & vocals plays 1920s-60s/70s, blues, reggae, jazz, folk, country & some original songs…
Tour: TOOTS TRIBUTE 2019- for what would have been his 97th birthday
18 May 19 Toots Thielemans Birthday Tribute Band Liverpool, Merseyside Caledonia UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 22 Caledonia street. John Ellis—Keys John Sandham—Double Bass Danny Ward—Drums Me—Harmonicas
19 May 19 Robin Sunflower’s DNA Stockport The Railway, UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Heaton Norris. Adrian Ingram—Guitar Darren Dutson-Bromley—Guitar Nick Lunn—Bass Guitar Me—Harmonicas& vocals
Tour: Monthly Residency since 2001
29 May 19 The Robin Sunflower Band Manchester Big Hands UK
Time: 10:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Freewheeling four piece at a freewheeling venue 60s/70s, blues,country,reggae/ska…. **********I LOVE THIS PLACE**********
06 Jun 19 Robin Sunflower-Solo & with friends Marple, Stockport Samuel Oldknow UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 22 Market st. Piano, harmonicas, vocals playing all sorts of stuff from the last hundred years! Reggae, blues, jazz, pop hits, original songs & tunes. A tiny, cozy venue.Comfortable& very relaxed.
Tour: Monthly Residency since 2001
26 Jun 19 The Robin Sunflower Band Manchester Big Hands UK
Time: 10:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. One great, unique, freewheeling bar…. Four great musicians coming together to make a great, freewheeling band…The line up changes from month to month, but the vibe is always LETS MAKE THIS HAPPEN. Bring dancing shoes and/or listening ears.
26 Jul 19 The Robin Sunflower Band Stalybridge Q Bar UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: stamford street.
24 Aug 19 The Robin Sunflower Band Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
21 Sep 19 Baked A-La-Ska manchester Alt Harfest UK
Time: 4:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Altrincham town centre. All weekend town center free festival–open air, outside stage.
19 Oct 19 The Robin Sunflower Band Stalybridge Q Bar UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: stamford street.
Tour: SKALLOWEEN
30 Oct 19 Baked A-La-Ska Liverpool Liverpool Philharmonic Theatre UK
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: £10?ish. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Hope Street.
Tour: Ska of Wonder
19 Dec 19 Baked A-La-Ska Manchester, Manchester Band on the Wall UK
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: £17.30??. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Swan st.
22 Dec 19 Baked A-La-Ska Liverpool Liverpool Philharmonic Theatre UK
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: £10?ish. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Hope Street.
01 Jan 20 PRIVATE PARTIES (weddings, birthdays, etc) ARE NOT SHOWN on above list any town any place UK
Time: 12:00am. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed.

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Get in Touch

You can get in touch with Robin by calling him or emailing him on:

 

07747 117 698

 

Or drop in to one of his gigs and say hello!