Travelling to Bristol a couple of times a week during the Covid-19 pandemic, to collect food for those in need in Bodmin, gave Sam Lakey, 16, plenty of time to chat to his dad, John.
A keen musician, Sam wanted to help take away people’s lockdown blues through making music. Aware of the limits on people’s purses, he also wanted to offer them the chance to try out an instrument before buying one, suggesting the family turn their textile store into a space for people to hire all kinds of instruments - and so Polyrhythm came into being at the corner of Bodmin’s arcade on Fore Street.
Understanding the huge commitment to take up an instrument when you have to teach yourself how to play it, and with lessons being a big expense, Sam’s aim is to reduce the risk involved in taking lessons by giving people a chance to borrow, for free, the instrument of their choice and hopes to see a growth in music within the community.
Polyrhythm’s volunteers and staff have grown over the past year or so. Alongside Sam are several other young people, including Alfie Dawes and Tom Leather, Bex Adamson, Lucy Lakey, John Lakey, James Lakey, Colette Degiovanni and Allan Penford. They make an impressive and passionate team with a mission to grow music in Bodmin and beyond.
Now Sam’s plan is for Polyrhythm to go mobile - ‘Polyrhythm on Wheels’ – and have a presence at ten music festivals each year, rather than just a couple.
Sam said: “Festivals introduce young people to live musical performances. They have the chance to experience the music, by listening or participating in free music workshops. We set up a drum kit and racks of various instruments, such as ukulele, mandolin guitars and percussion and offer free tuition to anyone who wants to have a go. We’ve recently been at The Great Estate weekend and closer to home at Panda Fest in Lanivet. We encourage people to learn an instrument and hire it for free from us – Hire it. Play it. Like it. Buy it.
“We focus on the library aspect of our work, but customers can buy the instrument they have hired from us or we can order a similar one for them.”
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