CHRISTMAS has a new colour this year with news of one amazing charity’s push to make it to the top of the charts this festive season, released 5 December.
Electric Umbrella has launched their brilliant ‘Christmas as a Punk’ song, professionally produced and mastered at the world famous Abbey Road Studios
Releasing a single is a first for registered charity Electric Umbrella, and as with everything they do, no punches are being pulled!
Electric Umbrella is a unique collaboration of adults with learning disabilities and professional musicians and working together to write, experience and perform music at workshops, festivals, pubs, live radio and everything in between.
Tom Billington professional musician, co-founder and Artistic Director of Electric Umbrella:
“I’ve been working as a musician for over 20 years and have built up a huge network of musicians, producers, engineers, film makers, venues and promoters. This is all about pulling everyone together to do something wonderful.”
The track features musicians and producers with a dazzling array of credits to their name including Robert Plant, Hans Zimmer, Melanie C, Rick Parfitt and Gary Barlow.
‘Christmas as a Punk' is a song about a punk rocker who feels uncomfortable with the social etiquette and niceties of Christmas. In many ways, it is a metaphor for people who feel out of place and are misunderstood and misrepresented by society.
Registered charity, Electric Umbrella is challenging the perception of people with learning disabilities by empowering and enriching lives through music.
Electric Umbrella believe there is no “us and them”, and are on a mission to challenge people to think differently about learning disabilities. Co-creation and a ‘can do' attitude is at the heart of what Electric Umbrella is all about, and this single perfectly demonstrates these values.
“Christmas as a Punk” has been written by members of Electric Umbrella and professional musicians at their weekly music sessions. Members have been involved in every aspect of the recording, ensuring that the process has been tailored to include all 60 members on the track, regardless of the things they need help with.
Front man Lawrence Neal, 55, has been a member of Electric Umbrella for two years and has had a learning disability since he was a baby.
“I'm a huge fan of punk rock, my favourite bands are Sham 69, The Ramones and the White Stripes. Thanks to Electric Umbrella I got to go to Abbey Road studios and be in my own band."
Dr Naomi Hartnell, Lawrence’s cousin says:
“Electric Umbrella has given Lawrence the chance to perform, not as a disabled person, but as the frontman of a great band performing for the enjoyment of us all. It is so very different from most opportunities for people with learning disabilities. It assumes that the sky is the limit and that they have just as much right as anyone else to be seen and respected as performers.
“Electric Umbrella has given his life a fantastic new purpose!”
“It’s a great song. Lawrence is a great singer. He and the rest of the people on this record perform with more life and more spirit than in any other band I’ve ever been in! why shouldn’t we be doing it properly?”
In celebration of the release Electric Umbrella will embark on a short tour of pubs, Christmas markets, town centres and private parties in and around Hertfordshire. The music video will be screened at Watford Football Club’s Premier League home game against Everton on 10 Dec.