The Gallery

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Belgian poster for film 'Orphée'Jean Cocteau's 1950 film 'Orphée' is my favourite movie of all time. My own ORFEAS is a re-telling of the same Ancient Myth, but otherwise it has absolutely nothing in common with Cocteau's masterpiece of surrealist, high-camp weirdness (except the 'masterpiece' bit, of course, ho ho...) However, the film certainly provided the impulse for me to explore the story for myself.


People at a restaurant tableIl pranzo! A lunch break during the George Orfeas Band backing-tracks sessions, August 2008 in Nogaredo (it's near the city of Rovereto, in the province of Trento, Northern Italy). From left to right: Bert Santilly (accordion), Judge ('non-playing Captain'), John 'Fury' Ellis (guitar), Gigi Cavalli Cocchi (drums), Marco Olivotto (bass & recording engineer) & Lodovico Saccol (assistant engineer). Photo: Helen Santilly.

Gigi behind the drum kitGigi, a batteria! LoL Studios, Nogaredo. This man is a meticulous musician and a hard-rocking drummer.

Bert playing accordionBert Santilly in action. I think the accordion is an under-exploited and underrated instrument for rock'n'roll. As can be seen by the music stands, some of the George Orfeas Band instrumental numbers are quite complicated.

John Ellis playing guitar'Fury' in action at Nogaredo. On these sessions, he wasn't being Orfeas, the great guitarist, but just the George Orfeas Band's rhythm guitarist, one of George's faithful sidemen. He still had plenty to do.

A deserted, beautiful beach on LesvosMy girlfriend Fiona and I have been going to the Greek island of Lesvos for our Summer holiday for years, and quite coincidentally, the island features in the original Orpheus legend. His head is supposed to have been washed ashore on this particular beach.

Judge looking out over a Lesvos landscapeHere I am in 2008 looking out over the 'Orphikia', an area, near the ancient Lesvian city of Antissa, which is associated with Orpheus, and where the nightingales are said to sing more sweetly than anywhere else in Greece.

Orfeas HotelThis is the Orfeas Hotel, where Fiona and I stayed for one night last Summer. Their spelling of the word gave me the idea to use 'Orfeas' for the title of the CD instead of the more traditional English version of the name.

David Jackson playing saxophoneJaxon The Mighty! It's been a privilege for me to work for him as a lyricist and performer on his pieces for young people, 'The House That Cried' and 'Twinkle', so it was very satisfying to be able to involve David in another project of mine. He's an amazing musician and an inspirational man. David and John Ellis recorded their melody lines together on a session at Perry Vale Studios in December 2008, and I had the Sax and Guitar play the tunes in close harmony. I have heard very few other recordings where this effect is used, and it certainly gives 'The George Orfeas Band' a very distinctive sound. Photo: Luca Fiaccavento.

Ricardo playing violinMaestro Ricardo Odriozola. Violinist and Arranger extraordinaire, but also a Composer, Orchestral Conductor and Music Professor. I am so lucky that he is interested in my music. Photo: Fotografen Løtvedt, Bergen, Norway.

Ricardo playing violin in a studio, taping equipment in the frontHere is Ricardo recording violin parts for the two 'Interview' tracks on 'Orfeas' in 2009, in Norway. With Ben Nation, the Cellist, he overdubbed his Violin and Viola to create a virtual String Sextet.
You can read my blog of the 2009 Norwegian escapades.

RenéThis is the amazing René van Commenée, percussionist and performance artist, whose guttural, dramatic vocals are featured on the two tracks on the album performed by the Mal-Metal band 'Black Path'. Lene and I both guest on his new CD Gridlock. Let's hope he can get it released soon. Photo: Dik Nicolai.

Lene, singing in a studio, in front of a microphoneLene Lovich recording at my own 'Studio Judex'. I have known Lene since the early 1970's, when she was an art student, before she became a star and a great vocal stylist, and even before she started singing seriously. No one sounds or looks quite like Lene, but I think that both her singing style and her unique visual image had a major influence on a whole generation of singing stars who came after her.

John Ellis, feet in the water of a river, smilingJohn Ellis was another visitor to Studio Judex, seen here when we were taking a break from the 2010 Orfeas Guitar Solos sessions, on the nearby South Coast.

Judge, singing, in the studio, in front of a microphoneMe working on my own vocals the same year. A rare picture, as I normally do my vocal recording in strict seclusion. Photo: René van Commenée

Judge, wearing a welder's maskMe wearing the welder's protective mask that Lene, a trained and accomplished sculptor, would use as the foundation on which to construct her wonderful Orfeas Tragic Mask.

Judge, black and white photoMe photographed by Seán Kelly (www.flickr.com/photos/seank and www.seankellyphotos.com) when I visited him to discuss his doing the photography for the CD booklet; which, I'm glad to say, he did, with great success. I believe in putting together the best package I possibly can for a CD. These days there has to be a good reason for people to buy a physical CD instead of a download, and a great package is the best reason I know. 'Orfeas' comes with a 32 page booklet featuring some stunning images from Seán.

Fiona in beautiful white robesMy girlfriend Fiona modelling the robes she made for Lene to wear as Eurydice.

Three very shiny oldtimer carsA few of George Orfeas' treasured Bristols. In fact, these were photographed at the premises of Andrew Blow near Avebury, Wiltshire, from a selection of these classic cars he has for sale. (www.amjblow.co.uk). Andrew kindly allowed John and I to come down and photograph Orfeas proudly showing off 'his motors' for the CD booklet.

John Ellis, Judge Smith, Lene LovichTaken during the 'Orfeas' photo session, January 2011. Judge certainly knows how to keep his artists happy!

JudgeAnother great image by Seán Kelly (www.flickr.com/photos/seank and www.seankellyphotos.com). We'd just completed a long day's photography, and your composer was feeling pretty good about things in general and the Orfeas project in particular. It's been the usual struggle to wrestle the Songstory down that long road to the finish, but here it is at last. Let me know what you think.


Buy the Orfeas CD online or by mail order.