Video: Reporter gets creative making vegetable instruments ahead of London Vegetable Orchestra’s visit to Aylsham

Reporter Donna-Louise Bishop making fruit and vegetable instruments ahead of the London Vegetable Orchestra's visit to Aylsham Food Festival. Pictured with a 'banana guitar'.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Reporter Donna-Louise Bishop making fruit and vegetable instruments ahead of the London Vegetable Orchestra's visit to Aylsham Food Festival. Pictured with a 'banana guitar'. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
6:14 PM

There are many timeless sayings that parents across the world will never tire of using and one of them has to be “stop playing with your food”.

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Reporter Donna-Louise Bishop making fruit and vegetable instruments ahead of the London Vegetable Orchestra's visit to Aylsham Food Festival. Pictured with Roger Willis chairman of Slow Food Aylsham. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYReporter Donna-Louise Bishop making fruit and vegetable instruments ahead of the London Vegetable Orchestra's visit to Aylsham Food Festival. Pictured with Roger Willis chairman of Slow Food Aylsham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

With the London Vegetable Orchestra gearing up for this year’s Aylsham Food Festival, reporter DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP decided to give it a go herself:

There are many timeless sayings that parents across the world will never tire of using and one of them has to be “stop playing with your food”.

But for one north Norfolk town that is all about to change.

About this year’s Aylsham Food Festival

Aylsham’s annual food festival is presented by Slow Food Aylsham and will run from Thursday October 2 to Sunday October 5 and will feature a mixture of old favourites plus some new attractions.

Friday will see special displays and tasters from the country market in the Town Hall and students from Aylsham High School will be presenting a gala dinner with an after dinner talk from Blickling Hall’s “Mary and Kath” - the cook and scullery maid.

On Food Festival Saturday, Aylsham’s FARMA-accredited Farmers’ Market will be offering fresh food sourced from within 30 miles of the town. Activities will start at 9am till 2pm.

There will also be street entertainment, including magicians from Davenports Magic Kingdom, and family cooking workshops and demonstrations by local chefs in and around the Town Hall.

On Sunday, jazz band One Foot in the Groove will be performing at 11.30am followed by the closing performance by the London Vegetable Orchestra at 1pm. The orchestra is being supported by Creative Arts East, Norfolk County Council and Broadland District Council.

There will also be food-related activities, including childrens’ cooking workshops, in the Parish Church on October 2 and 3.

For more information visit www.slowfoodaylsham.org.uk.

This October, Aylsham Food Festival will be celebrating its ninth year and its organisers have pulled out all the stops by enlisting the talents of the London Vegetable Orchestra.

This quirky ensemble is already becoming well known across the country after national television and radio appearances.

Their instruments are crafted from a range of local vegetables, with the brass section formed from courgettes, squashes and peppers, its wind instruments from carrots while percussion is provided from pumpkins.

So I wondered - how hard can it be to do?

As a former cello player I decided to try my hand at making my own instruments and with the help of Aylsham market vendor, Dennis Carroll of Salad Days, we came up with some fruitful ideas.

Piecing two sticks of celery together with string and then adding holes made a wonderful flute.

Tying an elastic band to a very curly banana saw us have fully-formed one string guitar.

And a watermelon made for a fantastic drum - complete with leek-drumstick.

But as curious on-lookers waited for my performance I realised that although my creations may have looked interesting and amusing, they were not going to sound quite as impressive.

Perhaps, after all that, it would have been better if I had left it to the professionals.

Roger Willis, chairman of Slow Food Aylsham, the group behind the festival, said despite my failed attempt the town would be in for a treat when the London Vegetable Orchestra arrived.

“We are terribly excited about their arrival,” he said. “This year we think we are going at least one better with the orchestra.

“They will be staging workshops and performing and we are looking forward to meeting lots of new people.”

And although it may not have been for me, I can suggest that everyone should tuck into at least five of their songs a day.

• The London Vegetable Orchestra will run workshops at Aylsham High School on Saturday September 27 and at the Market Place on Saturday October 4, where they will perform at 1pm. To book the free workshops visit www.slowfoodaylsham.org.uk.

• Come back on Monday to watch a video of reporter Donna-Louise Bishop attempting to make the vegetable instruments or tune into Mustard TV at 5.30pm on Monday.

• Have you got an unusual music story? Email reporter donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk.

And here’s some suggestions of what they could perform:

Disney’s Frozen – Lettuce Go

Pharrell Williams – Happea

David Bowie - Aubergine Genie

Otis Redding (and Black Crowes) - Chard to Handle

Queen - We Are The Champignons

Bruce Spring(onion)steen - Corn In The USA

Neil Diamond - Swede Caroline

Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Kale

Stacy Lattisaw - Jump to the Beet

Beatles - Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blueberries

Dr Dre - Nuthin’ But A Grape Thang

Paul McCartney - The Pipes of Peas

Lisa Stansfield - Bean Around the World

Dead or Alive - You spinach me right round

Chris Brown - Turnip the music

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