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.
21 Jan 19 Brian “splint” Walker Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
22 Jan 19 Brian “splint” Walker Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Ex-paramedic plays impassioned original folk/blues and the odd Bob Marley tune.
28 Jan 19 Dave Sharp. 1980’s band the Alarm’s frontman, plays a Woody Guthrie style set. Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
29 Jan 19 Dave Sharp. 1980’s band the Alarm’s frontman, plays a Woody Guthrie style set. Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Dave has played a good few stadium gigs in front of thousands…see him here at a tiny intimate venue.Powerful without the ear splitting volume!
Tour: Monthly Residency since 2001
30 Jan 19 The Robin Sunflower Band Manchester Big Hands UK
Time: 10:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Rock, reggae, jazz, latin, blues, 1920s, 40s, 60s,70s, originals, covers…my band is part of the furniture at this one-of-a-kind Manc club.Timeless, priceless, I can write/play what I like! Maybe you’ll like it too! Celebs as diverse as Guy Garvey and Nelly Furtado certainly have…
Tour: Quack-Open mic & Guest.
04 Feb 19 Kathy Dyson Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street. One of the most respected jazz guitarists in the uk.Kathy has guested with the Halle and played in a long standing duo with TV star Deidre Cartwright.
05 Feb 19 Hayes Sisters Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Genuine sisters share harmony singing.Guitar,banjo…folk and country.
11 Feb 19 The Chanteuse Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
12 Feb 19 The Chanteuse Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Songs sung in french including some by Nobel prize-winning author, Patrick Modiano and one or two you may have heard by Edith Piaf.
18 Feb 19 Victor Brox Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
19 Feb 19 Victor Brox Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Piano, vocals, trumpet, tall stories, blues, blues…and more blues! Local legend has performed with Jimi Hendrix and Jesus Christ….( yes really- he was Caiphias, the high priest on the original Jesus Christ Superstar LP, singing alongside Ian Gillan and Colin Blunstone)
25 Feb 19 Linda Jennings Stalybridge, Manchester White House UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: Water Street.
26 Feb 19 Linda Jennings Marple, Stockport Beer Traders UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 113 Stockport rd. Guitar/bass/vocalist recently thrown into the spotlight on primetime TV. Linda plays Beatles, ’80s pop, jazz standards and more…of course, she makes them all her own:)
Tour: Monthly Residency since 2001
27 Feb 19 The Robin Sunflower Band Manchester Big Hands UK
Time: 10:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Upbeat music of various genres- Rock, jazz, 1920s- 1980s original songs mix with stylised covers. Drums, bass, guitar, vocals & harmonicas. A very freewheeling gig at a unique freewheeling club. I LOVE IT!
09 Mar 19 The Robin Sunflower Band Buxton, High Peak,Derbyshire. London Road Inn UK
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages/Licensed. Address: 62-64 High street. A new, highly recommended venue for my band-come check it out:) Mike Mellor- Guitar & vocals John Sandham-Bass Iain Mellor- Drums & percussion & me of course!
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!