Musician Marc Block reflects on this time in the Falkland Islands

Posted by Shackleton Fund on 2013-04-17 08:01:14 FKST

I was able to perform to a wide variety of audiences, from children’s parties to the older people’s day centre, and from pubs and cafés to people’s living rooms and gardens. I sang in the Social Clubs at Port Howard and Goose Green and made two appearances on Falklands Radio, one recorded and one live. The station also played tracks from my forthcoming album, in particular the song I wrote after my first visit in 2011, Windswept Islands, which was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of the Islands.

I made three visits to the Infant and Junior school in Stanley and thoroughly enjoyed singing to, and with, the children there, who were extremely enthusiastic. I was very impressed that most of them were really good singers too, and had lots of great ideas for contributions to the songs. I didn’t do any performance at the Community School, though some of the students were on a field trip in Port Howard and came to my show there, and were more appreciative than some of the teachers accompanying them!

For excitement, the highlights were the amplified gigs I did at Goose Green Social Club (where I was asked for lots of encores and played for about 3 hours!), and The Rose Bar in Stanley with Jock and Liz Elliot and Tim Cotter, which was a great night with lots of joining in. Some of the more intimate gigs in private settings, however, were also highlights in a different way, as the conversation and rapport possible between the audience and me are immensely rewarding.

I was very fortunate to combine my Shackleton Scholarship with volunteering for Falklands Conservation, to whom I am very grateful for providing my accommodation in Stanley. Through bashing thistles for FC I was able to spend some amazing time on Saunders Island, where I met another singer-guitarist and had a song session on my last night there. The wildlife and tent-destroying winds on Saunders may also be inspirations for new songs!

Overall it was an extremely successful visit. I took my guitar out and performed to at least two people on thirty-three separate occasions (once doing six in one day!) to an estimated total of around 800 people, and made countless new friends. It was wonderful to meet and play with other musicians too, and I found the home-grown music scene on the Islands to be thriving and diverse. I very much look forward to returning sometime in the future, and hope to maintain links with many of the people I have met there.