The Music links start with the Andrew Brel Music albums produced originally as Bridge Recordings from 1990 to 2000, including the two albums I made with Spike Edney and the fabulous SAS BAND and the Leo Sayer album ‘Live in London’.
Since 2001 I have made nine albums in the meditation music genre including three albums with Hugh Burns, ‘Angels and Unicorns’, ‘Celtic Inspiration‘, and ‘7 Bach Meditations.’ My 2019 release is called KUMEKA TWO
My relaxation and meditation music series of 9 albums link is HERE
There is a page presenting some of my favorite songwriting efforts, including songs with Alan Tarney as well as the quite remarkable story of ‘The Paradise Key. Visit my YouTube channel here for a list of songs I have written.
You can contact me directly by Facebook private messaging.
Thanks for visiting,
About me begins in Johannesburg in the sixties in a Greek home as Andrea Broulidakis, growing for my first ten years as the princely inheritor of a Greek intellectual atheist father who I learned had volunteered to protect the weak by killing fascists from 1939 until 1945, serving as an infantry Captain in the British Army. The two things he shared with me from that experience began when his medals arrived, for service to King and Empire in WW2, he ‘returned to sender’. Awarding him a medal from the safety of an Office desk in Whitehall was insulting. Nationalism as a recruitment device for war was a note to be aware of. We had no flags in our house. The second thing was to stand up to fascism. With no fear.
Manos Broulidakis was a larger than life character who built and lived in the finest house in Johannesburg in the fifties, the house on Hoboken Road which he sold to L. Ron Hubbard in 1960. that is now a museum, and the first fifties house built in South Africa to be awarded heritage status.
Manos’ sudden death when I was ten started my second life chapter, my education decade in which my Greek Orthodox Mother, 36 at the time of being widowed with three young children, blessed me with the need to support myself from an early age.
Something I accomplished by replacing the missing father presence with the collective-unconscious reserve of the music I immersed myself in. Music as a repository of all that is most noble about humanity. I found the lessons of Bach. Logically speaking, my aspirational inspirational figure. Music also enabled me to support myself. By 15 I was able to command a fee for entertaining with guitar and voice. My first band was named HOBO and in the early seventies we ruled the Bryanston party circuit with bass, drums and two guitars.
1970 to 1980 was my student listening decade, traveling from a fatherless self-accountable ten-year-old to a hardened veteran of defensive counter-attacking right-wing conformists by the age of twenty. A period including incarceration for two years in South Africa’s Apartheid military. Conscription is a bad thing that, as is so often the way with bad things, turned out well when I enjoyed a grandstand view of the war raging in Southern Africa that was a rich resource for a budding writer. My rank was bandsman. I was the guitarist in the SADF Entertainment Corps show-band established by the Prime Minister’s office for musical entertainment which alternated between morale building shows for the troops and black-tie functions for the ruling elite. It was at one of those ruling elite ministerial functions that I unexpectedly found myself face to face with the Commander in Chief of Apartheid South Africa, PW. Botha. A brief moment in time in which three words were exchanged between a 19-year-old troop in the uniform of the Apartheid army and the leader of South Africa’s Apartheid regime, then at their very worst as awful murdering racists.
What would you have said in similar circumstances?
The best I could come up with was ‘Your bum stinks.’
I guess that was the most I thought I could get away with short of inviting a death sentence.
After surviving that PTSD wartime legacy, my life-threatening two-year conscription in the ‘Angolan Border War’ my third decade, 20 – 30 started with an energetic work ethic available only to the twenty somethings.
In 1981 I accepted an agent’s advice to adopt the name Andy Brel, and soon I was performing ten top-dollar shows a week for much of the time while completing three years as a student of Computer Science. Working 16-hour days. And smoking a great deal, planning my escape from South Africa. Exactly one week after my final exam, with the £1,500 allowance on offer at the time by foreign exchange control, I showed up at Heathrow with a guitar and a positive attitude, for a new life away from the bludgeoning fist of the fascist government in South Africa.
I knew no one in my adopted Country, at that time operating a policy of “All white South Africans should be lined up against a wall and shot.”
I started my new life in England in a £50 a week rented room in a house in a place where I woke each morning not knowing where I was. (The northern hemisphere.) I only knew where I was not. I did not miss my South African home, in Chartwell, on 500 acres next to a Lion Park. Or regret my reduced living arrangements. I had an appetite for life. I got lucky fast. I secured my first paid gig a week after arriving. (Buffers wine bar in Weybridge.) I was working 7 nights a week within three months. My most commonly used advert at that time was:
Andy Brel live.
“Perspicacious music for percipient people”
Soon I had studio work and made many records. Within a year I bought my first home. Overlooking the lovely Thames and Hampton Court Palace. Thirty years passed in a blur of words and music and love and fun. Laughter and tears, and life without fear. I worked with many truly great musicians and met many of the world’s finest human beings as close friends. I loved England so much I made it my third nationality. I lived in a charming house on the Thames riverbank, developed from my first flat there bought in 1986. I lived well as a musical Greek Englishman.
I loved meeting the people who came into my life, many of whom I knew about from their musical albums that had formed the soundtrack to my colonial upbringing. I consider myself unusually fortunate to have enjoyed the friendships that came my way. I learned the value of gratitude early. And gratefully accepted its rewards. Especially when it came to attractive women.
My happy life in England all ended after 30-years with a dreadful theft. Another awful life experience that provided a good source of rich material for a book along with a new start in California in 2013. Arriving much as I had in London 30 years before. With some musical skills, an appetite for sharing and a love of helping undiminished by fortunes vicissitudes with the passage of years.
I have been divorced once. I hope that never happens again. I have two English children, born twenty years apart. My oldest, now 29, is beautiful Manoussos John, named after Manos, my father, in the Greek tradition. Although from early on after the divorce with his mother in 1992, he has gone by the name of John and does not speak Greek. John earned a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and has many fine human qualities. His younger brother, born twenty years later, is beautiful Byron. The subject of an ongoing story in which British family law is the subject of an ongoing story. He is 10 at the time of writing. My life’s finest peak was raising Byron as a stay home dad for the first four years of his life; to be kind and considerate, mindful and musical. My goal now is to raise awareness of the epidemic of child abuse visited on children around the world by family court systems where ethically deviant judges and lawyers earn fortunes from ruining children’s lives.