Kensal Green band tell how street party gave rise to their success

Reggae band Hip Replacement was born out of Jude Allen’s desire to ‘out the band back together’ to play the Kensal Triangle street party

Two years ago Kensal Triangle Residents Association (KTRA) decided to stage their first street party.

As talk turned to bunting, food and entertainment, Jude Allen had just one thing on her mind – to put her old band back together,

Sitting amid the keyboards and microphones which are permanently on display in her living room, in Harrow Road, Kensal Green, Jude remembers this as a eureka moment in the Blues brothers mould – a film in which two ex-con brothers go on a ‘mission from God’ to put their old band back together.

“When we decided to do the street party we thought, Ok lets do some live music”, Jude explains.

“I thought hmmm, I wonder if we can get the old band together and that’s what happened. I made a series of phone calls, checked everyone is still alive, and got everyone together.”

“The party was about bringing the community together and music was a crucial part of that. It was a real meeting of old friends.”

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Hip Replacement comprises eight members – Jude (keyboards), Sean O’Neil (guitar), Dick Maun (saxophone), Buggsy (singer and percussion), Colin Cookson (bass player), Larion Stolk (lead vocalist), Nardo Bailey (drummer) and Margo Sagov (guitar and lead vocals).

They play a mix of reggae, soul and Indi pop – “Music the band likes to listen to”, explains Jude.

All eight are seasoned music pros, and have played together in various combinations over the past 15 years.

Two members, Nardo and Margo, were members of the chart topping reggae band Amazulu, and Jude first hit the charts at 19 as the keyboardist in 1980’s pop group Pussyfoot

When Jude first dialled their numbers two years ago, none of the band members had been in the same room as one another for nearly six years.

But after a crammed first jamming session in Jude’s bedroom “getting everyone in there was no mean feat, but the old magic was there”, laughs Jude, the group decided to go public.

Speaking about their first gig on a hastily built stage at the KTRA’s street party, Jude remembers it simply as ‘amazing’.

“It was a beautiful summer’s day. It was like Glastonbury had come to North West London. Everyone was relaxed, dancing, and getting to know each other.

“We have a very strong community here and the band is very much part of that.

Nearly two years later and Hip Replacement have won a loyal following and are regulars on Brent’s gigging circuit, having played at both the William IV in Harrow Road, and Paradise by Way of Kensal Green, in Kilburn Lane, both in Kensal Green.

And looking forward their sights are firmly set on their third anniversary gig this September, at the KTRA’s next street party.

“We are really excited about going back to the street party this autumn”, says Jude. “We will be going back to the pace where it all began”.

Hip Replacement are playing at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green in Kilburn Lane, Kensal Green this Sunday (20) at 6pm. Tickets cost �3.50