The Music of Yvonne Stanley, Mike Stanley and Andy Ross
About Fisherman (UK) Music
A little history…
Fisherman (UK) Music began in the late eighties when Mike produced two cassettes of solo material. He liked the name ‘Fisherman’ and it stuck!
During his illness, Mike’s music and faith gave him a focus and purpose, which has become a precious legacy.
This has resulted in Fisherman (UK) Music publishing three CDs so far – an astounding amount of work achieved in a relatively short time: a tribute to a life dedicated to music.
Continuing the work of Fisherman Music:
Firstly Andy and I have great admiration for Mike’s courage and dedication to his faith. He never stopped; he found the strength and it gave him a focus.
Secondly, his determination to see the CDs come to fruition. Two of them he lived to see, how his face lit up when he held the CD of Dewfall in his hands. One he sadly did not see – and I want to continue on this journey with that same determination! Yvonne Stanley
Find out more about Mike, Yvonne and Andy; the people behind Fisherman (UK) Music.
For almost 20 years, Mike Stanley was part of the musical partnership with Joanne Boyce, known as CJM Music and, latterly, Boyce and Stanley. Their music evolved through youth work in the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, to liturgy and music in schools, inset for teachers, and retreat work. Then, with a national profile, they became more widely known through concerts, their musical presentation of the Stations of the Cross “Born for This“, and appearances on BBC Radio 2′s Good Morning Sunday and BBC1 TV’s Songs of Praise. This interaction between life and faith resulted in an abundance of songs written by Mike and Jo.
Mike was also well known on Irish & folk music circuits both in Birmingham and further afield. He played with the well-known band Drowsy Maggie for many years and then formed his own Irish band Shenanigans, which played in venues nationally and even the Rose of Tralee festival in Ireland.
Among the highlights of his musical life, Mike played and sang at World Youth Day, led by Pope John Paul II, in Rome in the Jubilee Year 2000. The same year he and Jo Boyce animated a gathering of 10,000 school children in BBC 1 Songs of Praise at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
In September 2010, he wrote, prepared and led tens of thousand of pilgrims in a live broadcast of BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship on the occasion of the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, by Pope Benedict XVI at Cofton Park in Birmingham.
Mike was diagnosed with bowel cancer on Christmas Day, 2010 and sadly passed away in June 2013.
Following his diagnosis with cancer Mike’s song writing became prolific and more poignant. His focus became certain and every day precious. He continued to write, compose and record these songs through some very difficult times and his faith and strength were an inspiration that stemmed from his love of liturgy and reading the Scriptures.
Mike would want people to feel inspiration and comfort from his music.
He felt touched by God’s Grace throughout his life and used that gift to uplift, inspire and help people in their spiritual growth.
Yvonne Stanley, Director of Fisherman (UK) Music
Yvonne and Mike were married for 13 years and have 3 boys, Adam, Joseph and Luke.
Mike encouraged her to sing and her first recording debut was accompanying Mike on the first Soli House Youth Retreat Centre singing venture that was Lead Kindly Light (which is only available on cassette!). Following that, they often sang together at various functions & festivals, including events with the well-loved Midland comedian, Doug Parker and went on to form the Irish band Shenanigans.
Again, with Mike’s encouragement, Yvonne began studying British Sign Language after a career in nursing! She is now a level three BSL signer and has a lot of experience going into schools teaching BSL from preschool to year 6.
She has always worked closely with her late husband Mike Stanley and, through his broad knowledge and experience of liturgy and music, they often collaborated signing and liturgical music to enhance understanding and faith.
“Many people have asked me throughout the long journey of Mike’s illness, and following his death last year, ‘ I don’t know how you do it’. Well I think if Mike were here he would agree that a journey like that has a profound effect on you… Your perspectives alter, your views change and, for me, just being with Mike all that time, seeing him pray, write, sing, perform, record and just generally keeping that beautiful smile helped me to strengthen my faith…” – Yvonne Stanley
Andy Ross, Co-Director of Fisherman (UK) Music
Andy is a full time instrumental teacher and professional musician based in Birmingham. He is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music and has performed as a piano soloist and in many bands and genres of music throughout his career.
As a pupil at Bishop Walsh Catholic School in Sutton Coldfield, Andy first met Mike Stanley and Jo Boyce through their work in CJM Music. He has worked with CJM to varying degrees since, performing in concerts, helping to prepare resources and has been part of the core music group for the Birmingham archdiocese pilgrimage to Lourdes.
In recent years, Mike’s relationship with Andy Ross grew from a mentor to a close friend. Andy has co-written many songs with Mike and his creativity was a source of encouragement and strength to Mike. They initially wrote Mass of the Holy Trinity together. After this, they collaborated on the single, ‘Faith’ and the albums ‘Dewfall’ and ‘Grace’ for Fisherman music.
“This project has been quite a journey. Although Mike showed great courage in making so much of it happen despite his advanced illness, it was left to Yvonne and me to produce a lot of it. In particular, work on Grace involved taking Mike’s voice and guitar recordings to the studio and adding our vocals and musical accompaniment to the song. With the obvious poignant moments involved, it has not been easy but it has been a privilege.” – Andy Ross