The group began in 2001 as an improvising acoustic string trio: Simon
Egan, Keith Hunter and
Watkins, playing sitar,
mandola and saz
respectively (with a few percussive bits,
Tibetan singing bowls,
etc. thrown in). We met through a musical project called Strange
Bedfellows organised by Philip Robinson (for some years an occasional part of the group), which
aimed to "install" unlikely combinations of musicians in unlikely public spaces for a day, and see what
happened. As a result of this, our first "performance" took place sitting on a very comfortable double
bed in the bed department of the local Debenhams
department store, high above the city of Exeter.
Following this, we played together in the local hospital
and museum, and ended up being asked
to play as a trio in the Exeter
as part of a healthcare/arts exhibition attended by our local Member of Parliament Ben Bradshaw.
Ben has since fallen out of favour with the original trio as a result of his unwavering support for Tony Blair in the disastrous and
illegal invasion of Iraq, but at the time it seemed like a pleasantly novel thing to
do. Someone needed a name to describe us, so Simon came up with one, using an online "random band name
generator." In the very early days, we mostly
played sessions at Matthew's house, but also played at a craft fair, and an open mic session at The Angel pub on Queen Street (at the time our sound was so tenuous and etherial that no one appeared to notice we were even there, much to our amusement).