QEII Country Park
A return coach is available from central Newcastle to Woodhorn Museum. Coach Tickets: £5
Exhibition Launch and Folk Music Concert
Sat 27 June 2015, 1–4pm
Workshop Gallery, Woodhorn Museum
The exhibition launch of Sound Strata at Woodhorn Museum was followed from 2–3pm by a concert of traditional Northumbrian music and dance featuring leading local folk musicians: Stewart Hardy (fiddle), Chris Ormston and Andy May (Northumbrian pipes), Benny Graham (singer), Alistair Anderson (English concertina) and the Star and Shadow rapper dancers.
The concert referenced key twentieth century folk musicians such as Tom Clough (known as ‘The Prince of Pipers’) who lived in the mining community of Newsham in South East Northumberland. The afternoon included lively performances of famous Tyneside folk tunes from the Woodhorn area such as The Bonnie Pit Laddie, Blackleg Miner alongside rhythmic rant step dances such as The Morpeth Rant.
Stewart Hardy is an internationally acclaimed fiddle performer, composer and teacher, based in the North East of England. His love for the traditional music of Northumberland and Scotland shines through his repertoire and influences his own compositions.
Chris Ormston has been playing the Northumbrian pipes since he was a teenager. Early in his piping career he acquired a taste for the classic repertoire of the pipes with its associated ‘detached’ fingering style and he has continued to hone his understanding of that approach ever since. His particular interest is in the music of the Clough Family, who were at the forefront of the piping scene for 200 years.
Benny Graham served his musical apprenticeship in the folksong clubs of North East England which were at the forefront of the British folk revival (like Newcastle Folksong and Ballad). There was no better place in the late 1960s for a singer to develop his love of the vast musical culture of the region, which takes in rural songs, Tyneside Music Hall, and the music that grew from the heavy industries of coal, steel and shipbuilding.
Andy May began learning the Northumbrian pipes under the guidance of Roland Lofthouse of Ryton (himself a pupil of Jack Armstrong), drawing from his vast repertoire of tunes from Northumberland, Scotland and Ireland. He then continued to be inspired by pipers Billy Pigg and Tom Clough plus many others. Early in his career he achieved nine consecutive wins of the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society Open Competition, and now tours and teaches the pipes internationally.
Alistair Anderson is a legendary master of the English concertina and was a founding member of The High Level Ranters, the group most associated with the 1970s revival of Northumbrian folk music. In addition to his many collaborations, he has forged a long career as a soloist and critically acclaimed composer.
The Star and Shadow are a rapper dance team based in North East England. They are one of the most acclaimed rapper dance teams in the UK, having won the Dancing England Rapper Dance Tournament in 2013 and 2014.
“... unprecedented in the history of recorded Northumbrian piping.” (FolkMusic.net on Chris Ormston)
“Hardy brings a terrific range of colourful expression to his playing, from the gentle, poignant lilt of his slow airs, through the slippery hornpipe bowing.” (The Herald on Stewart Hardy)
Keith Merrin, Director, Woodhorn, Rebecca Shatwell, Director, AV Festival and Susan Stenger
Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland exhibtion preview, Woodhorn Museum, 27 June 2015. Photo: Colin Davison, courtesy AV Festival