CHARISMA

Foreward - courtesy of Casey Synge:
I was the vocalist with Charisma a Cambridge based semi-professional dance band from 1983 to end of 1994 when it finally disbanded. It was a ‘function’s band’ meaning we provided the music for every sort of event. Clubs – Golf, Polo, Football, Country, Working mens, British Legion, Labour, Conservative, Divorce! Firemen. Factory clubs – cars, meat, caravans. flowers, potatoes (this is the Fens) We worked a lot for Army and Air Force entertainment events and also weddings, Holiday celebrations like New Years Eve, Summer Balls etc etc. We sang at hotel functions,bars, pubs and tents !

Charisma performed music that you could dance to, with a wide range of songs and tempos. We were very popular and would probably perform about 60 different numbers in a typical gig, doing 3 one hour sets. We didn’t sing original material , just covers of hits and blasts from the past. Quite demanding! We performed all over the East Anglian region & anywhere from London to Yorkshire.
In the beginning:
1982: From the remnants of Night Edition, Charisma was formed by lead guitarist/vocalist John Ciborowski & drummer Graham (Ned) Bishop who enlisted vocalist Barbara Abrahams, keyboardist Roy Stubbings, and bass player Pete Willsher.

In 1983 following a year of filling the gig diary & increasing the repertoire, Barbara left the band & was replaced by Casey, who took the band to a whole new level.

1983 to 1994: As Casey recalls: “I mostly remember the number of changes of personnel, with many drummers coming and going, and different guitarists, bassists and keyboard players”
Casey Synge Biography:

Click here for…Casey’s professional career as a singer in the 60s & 70s working with the likes of: Lou Reed, Mott The Hoople & Jerry Lee Lewis etc……

The Promo Pics:
We’ve done our very best to recall all the aforementioned lineups & the applicable years, although the sands of time have unfortunately prevented it from being an exact science. Charisma played their final gig on NYE 1994, tho sadly no photographic evidence exists of the last couple of years. We are forever indebted to our friends, Jon Beedle, Ian Turner, Steve Beaney, Gary & Mary Cates & a few more no doubt, who stepped in to dep when duty called.
Studio takes from recording sessions in the 1980’s & 1990’s
1 I Feel Good
2 I Can’t Stay Away From You
3 Crazy
4 Little Lies
5 Blue Bayou
6 Soul Medley
7 I’ll Be There
8 Say A Little Prayer
9 Keep On Running
10 Hard For The Money
11 Simply The Best
Tales from the Road - Charisma
Tales from The Road
Casey Synge Biography:

I had a previous professional career as a singer in London, with my own band ‘Casey and Friends’  in the late 60s,- an acoustic with strings folky outfit,  then as the vocalist with the progressive rock band ‘Gringo’ touring France, Holland and every University in England, Scotland and Wales and and then with ‘Thunder Thighs‘ a recording girl group’. We had a hit single with ‘Central Park Arrest ‘in 1974 and also became in demand sessions singers for artists including Lou Reed on his “Transformer” album which featured  “Walk on the Wild Side” and our famous “Do do do do dos”. Other sessions I remember,  working with the wonderful Jerry Lee Lewis and  luminaries of the music business – Jeff Beck (I’m so proud), Mott the Hoople (Roll Away The Stone), Arthur Brown (retake of Fire), Stomo Yamashta, Elkie Brooks,  Tim Rose, Vangelis  etc. We also sang on film soundtracks, adverts and on stage  with artists  such as Maggie Bell, Mick Ronson Elephants Memory, Marsha Hunt and others. Our work was varied and fun. Since then when people find out I am a former singer I sometimes get pressed into performing in odd circumstances such as at a beach party in Western Samoa in the Pacific with the “Crowded House” band musicians. With the wonderful old residence band of the Peace Hotel in Shanghai.  At Trinity College Cambridge Fellows Bowling Green 

with academics, who seemed just a little startled when I sang “I Will Survive” and various other situations such as friends birthdays and most recently I was asked to sing at a memorial for a friend who had died, I sang an Irish lament. Covering all situations……!!

Thunderthighs Gallery

Henna My Hair (mp3 track)

Man In The Moon (mp3 track)

He’s My Man (mp3 track)

Freestyle

Phil’s Recollections…..

In 1992,  Andy and Phil got together to form Freestyle.

‘MIDI’  (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was transforming musical composition and performance so with Andy playing Bass,  Phil on keyboards and  programming backing tracks and sequenced Midi controlled light show, Freestyle was formed.  Roger joined us as lead singer, he was a really great singer in rehearsals but when we played to an audience for the first time lost all confidence and only played the one gig, a wedding at Worlington Hall.

l met Sue Marchant (now a well known local radio presenter) after she came into my music shop to see if any local band was looking for a singer, Sue had been performing in a band very successfully in Stoke on Trent before moving to Ely,  our revised line up was formed.

Our first gig together was at Burwell Ex Servicemen’s Club, Sue came on stage singing Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’, then cocking her legs in the air, well, we did several gigs there after that!  

Diana, Phil’s wife could always sing harmonies and joined in during rehearsal’s, but was reluctant to want to perform on stage, however at one function where Diana came along, she had nowhere to go while we were on stage so she sat at the back stage microphone in hand and singing harmony, well that was it, she then joined as our fourth member complimenting Sue with her harmonies and also taking lead vocal on occasions.  

Freestyle at its height was performing  gigs all over East Anglia, London and the Midlands, virtually all were private functions, often crossing paths with well known celebrities in attendance, 

one occasion Freestyle was also one of the support bands for a Suzi Quatro concert.  We did however perform a successful charity gig raising over £3000.00 for Prostate Cancer Research.

Freestyle lost its ‘Mojo’ after we lost Andy to Prostate Cancer, although we did keep going as a three piece, Phil added bass lines to the tracks but it was never the same. 

Profile

Profile formed in © 1988 by vocalist Dave Smith & bass player Pete Willsher following the breakup of a Royston based band (of which the name eludes). We enlisted vocalist Mary Cates & Mary’s husband, drummer Gary Cates, along with guitarist Maurice, who hailed from Barrow in Furness. Maurice, we recall got homesick after a matter of months, which led to his departure, & being replaced by a guitarist called Steve from Haverhill. Steve remained with the band for a while until his resignation, with friend & guitar teacher Steve Beaney helping out & finally local guitar wizard Tim Slater joining the band. Meanwhile we had enlisted sax player Andy Bachelor, a friend of Dave’s which greatly enhanced the overall sound.

Being a function band, gigs consisted of clubs, hotels etc & all other manner of  events & certainly weren’t short of a few hilarious times along the way. We recollect, an alarmed Andy Bachelor, being picked up & carried around the dance floor by a rather inebriated member of the audience in the middle of Hazel O’Connor’s ‘Will You’….…. did he ever recover from that uplifting experience?

Profile was in existence for a couple of years, disbanding around 1990 due largely to members being involved in other projects…. happy days all the same.

This page is a tribute to everyone who played, sung & partied with Charisma over the 11 years & remembering those who are no longer with us, and a big thankyou to all for raiding your archives to recover the photo’s, & also for the recollections & info, which has made this web page possible