Darwen Music School links with Marc Bolan and Sierra Leone

A DARWEN music school is to take part in a unique ‘twinning’ arrangement with a music school in Africa.

Darwen School of Music run by Paul Stuart Davies and Mark Bateson is linking up with the Marc Bolan School of Music in Sierra Leone.

The school in the city of Makeni is run by Gloria Jones, former girlfriend of the glam rock star who died in 1977.

Paul said: “I was performing at a Northern Soul festival where Gloria was the headliner. We met at rehearsals and I mentioned I ran a music school. She said she had a music school too

“I didn’t think anything more about it until she got it touch to say she was trying to raise funds to build new school premises in Marc’s memory. She has lived in Sierra Leone for a number of years and has around 70 or 80 pupils. Much of their equipment has been donated and she even organises a shuttle bus to bring students in to the school from outlying areas.”

In the New Year, Paul and Mark are hoping to fly out to Africa to take some classes at the Marc Bolan School.

“Gloria has even offered to come over to Darwen and perform for our students” said Paul. “We are are also looking at holding fundraising events for her and maybe even working with the African musicians to produce a CD which we could then sell.”

Paul and Mark set up Darwen School of Music in 2003 after meeting on a music teachers’ course at Blackburn College. They now have around 80 students a week learning piano, drums and guitars and taking singing lessons.

Students have regularly taken part in Darwen Live and next – Sunday, November 24 – the school will be holding a showcase at Darwen Library Theatre.

“We are so excited to have a connection with Marc Bolan and Gloria, as well as the international connection with Africa,” said Paul.

Gloria notably originally recorded the song Tainted Love which later became a major hit for Soft Cell.