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Hi Cyprian,

I was amazed by the article you produced (attached) about the Bandits.

These guys, you all amongst them, Jessel, Joffre and Joe (Boy) were a life long inspiration to my brothers (Maurice-Vocals, Morgan Rhythm Guitar, Michael - Bass and myself (Mervin Alvarez - Drums) all CC'd here.

That musical journey began for us began in the compound in Nairobi, Kenya  where we were open mouthed (in awe) neighbours of Jessel and Joffre. My first memory was when Jessel sat me on his drum stool and my legs did not find the ground and I burst into tears.

We as kids (toto's) truly admired your musicality and variety of genres that to this day, inspires us to experiment with musical notes, beats, arrangements and vocal overtones. We went on thanks to your inspiration in particular, Joffre and Jessel, to seek new musical influences such as Steely Dan, Cosby, Stills and Nash, Earth Wind and Fire and The Doobie Brothers amongst 1000's of others. We also get together and have a jam as recently as last week in South London.

We would love dearly to hook up with any of the band to share our love and experiences of what was to this day, the best times of our lives.

We also wish to extend our blessings to their dear parents who to this day we know as Aunty Teckla and Uncle Joe Manricks.

Please get in touch we would love to chat. The last we heard of these amazing people and musicians was when they visited our place in Tooting, South London and Jessel and Joffre played on our very basic instruments (in my case similar to the old Bandits, (A large coffee tin covered with  balloons and cello tape and painted to look like the pearl finish on one of Jessel's kits and with a lamp stand spring as my cymbals. Morgan had an old acoustic nylon strung and Mick a basic bass. Jessel and Joffre used those to make music in front of us and we just stood there as ever, open mouthed and smiling in fond memory of those inspirational old days in Nairobi. They played a special rendition of Till There Was You (Beatles) still a fond favourite of ours. Later we also recall that Jessel played at Maurice and Elma's wedding.

Please pass on our love which we have for all of you who made our lives so special.

We would dearly and long to get in touch again and as soon as possible.

Please look after yourselves and each other in these challenging times.

God Bless and Love to You All,

Mervin Alvarez

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