Saturday, 6 June 2009

Your Mama's Cookin' - Last of term!

Started by two friends with a shared love of rockabilly music, Your Mama’s Cookin’ is Manchester´s most action packed and energetic clubnight.

Draping Tiger Lounge in bunting, village fete style, the night offers old fashioned fun like Lindy Hop lessons, free cake, knitting lessons and card games.

Lora Avedian and Jonny Walsh started YMC at the Lost and Found squat in an old meat market in the Northern Quarter in 2006. They've since taken the vintage sounds of jump blues, rock ‘n’ roll, swing, jive and rockabilly to the Salford Arms, Kro Bar, Trof, the Green Room and, most recently, Sounds from the Other City and Eurocultured.

Lora says: “The idea sprang from my love for 1940s and 50s dancing and music. The night is influenced by the Viva Cake night in London, which I attended regularly. When I moved to Manchester I found myself at a loose end for this kind of event and thought it was the perfect opportunity to bring something new to Manchester’s night life.”

With everyone being encouraged to join in and regularly swap partners, Your Mama’s Cookin’ is ideal for those who want to dance away their inhibitions at the same time as meeting new people.Lora explains: “The dance lessons are a major part to the night, we like to think they are what make us different from any other event in Manchester. We like the idea that you can learn to dance with everyone in the room, and then afterwards, if you feel inclined you can ask someone to dance.”

She elaborates: “Jump blues, early R’n’B, and (later on) rock n roll were the original modern forms of dance music. They reflected a time when young people, en masse, first had the chance to escape the strictures society imposed upon them.

As a result, it still remains fantastically hedonistic music, perfect for a release in the form of dancing.”

Lora continues: “Lindy-hop is one of the most exciting and easy to learn dances from the 40s. There are so many different dances to learn but Lindy-hop is a good introduction.

We also sometimes teach the Charleston to keep people on their toes.”

The classes are taught by Don and Helen Woodwiss. Lora says: “They are a a wonderful couple we met through attending a Lindy Hop class in the Zion Centre. They are passionate about dance, and people who come to the lessons feed off that.”

The night isn't just for dance enthusiasts, though. Lora says: "Part of the appeal of putting on the night is the wide variety of people who come along. You would never think that most of them love '50s music if you saw them walking down the street. That’s what we love about it. You never know who’s going to turn up. We want to open up everyone’s awareness to the goodness of vintage sounds."

Part of the fun is people watching, and attendees often look the part.

Lora says: “Dressing up is a huge part of the evening. We love to dress up. Although we don't push people to do it and we don’t want the night to be too formal, it is certainly good to see strapping men with slicked back hair and dolled up girls with big skirted frocks walk onto the dance floor.”

For those with two left feet who prefer to watch from the sidelines, though, there are live bands every month.

Lora says: "We usually have one live band on at the club night, and two live acts at the bar-sessions in Odd bar. Our favourites include the Momeraths, JD Smith, Zacc Rogers and Serious Sam Barrett."

She enthuses: "Serious Sam's one to watch as he's played a few times now, and is getting better and better each time. His last performance was incredible!"

However, Lora says: "There aren't that many local acts that play that sort of 1940s/50s music we love. Leeds has a thriving scene, Birmingham's pretty good, and there' are the expected number of acts on the London scene. It’s a shame, so if there are any hiding in Manchester’s undergrowth we are willing them get in touch."

Your Mama’s Cookin’ is also a good place to show off your baking, as well as dancing skills, with a bake-off every month which earns the winner a record.

Lora says: “We like elaborate decorations the most. A girl called Lucy Needles made an unbelievable, heart shaped, strawberry decorated, delicious sponge cake a few months back. That one will be hard to top.”

For the less energetic, Lora says the monthly spinoff Your Mama's Cookin' bar sessions at Odd are ideal for anyone who wants a “chilled out Sunday afternoon”.

Lora explains: “The idea with the bar-sessions, on the first Sunday of every month, was to take the music to a new crowd and put the emphasis more upon live music than dancing. It’s also a really comfortable environment for the artists to perform in.”

Your Mama’s Cookin’, Tiger Lounge, Cooper Street, Wednesday June 10 (last of term).

Knitting lessons by Rebecca Manley start at 8pm.