Laura Barton's Notes From A Musical Island

Episodes

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Broadcast
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01Living by Water20160305

The music writer Laura Barton visits four corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

In this first episode, Laura visits parts of the rugged countryside of Northumberland and the coastal city of Sunderland on Tyne and Wear to explore how music and landscape are intimately related.

In an environment defined by a beautiful coastline and great northern rivers, Kathryn Tickell, the violinist and Northumbrian piper, and Adrian McNally of the folk group The Unthanks share their experiences of performing and arranging traditional tunes that seem to have emerged from the sea and been hewn from the soil.

Members of the Sunderland band Frankie and the Heartstrings take Laura on a tour of the shop they established in the heart of the old industrial city to sell coffee, artworks and records, as well as to provide a rehearsal and gig space. They also perform acoustically in the famous Watch House, from which volunteer lifeboatmen would keep an eye on the Roker seashore.

And Peter Brewis of Field Music, based in a former industrial unit on the banks of the River Wear, tells Laura about the distinctive accents of music from this part of the North-East.

Produced by Alan Hall

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

02Put a Donk on It!20160312

The music writer Laura Barton visits four corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

Crossing into Lancashire through the Upper Calder Valley, Laura visits the Great Bride Stones with musician and cultural geographer Rob St John, who's attuned to the unique sound qualities of this rural-industrial landscape.

Then she visits the Queen Street Mill Museum in Burnley and meets Colin, a weaver of fifty years and lover of elegiac Vaughan Williams, and listens to the loom-inspired music of Chaines.

She musically unpicks the origins of Donk, a high bpm (beats per minute) dance style unique to the North-West, with Tony Sabanskis of The Blackout Crew, and attends a band practice of a former colliery brass band, a more traditional musical emblem that flourishes still in post-industrial Haydock.

Produced by Alan Hall.

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

03Floorboards and the Blues20160319

The music writer Laura Barton visits four corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

Long ago, the city of Birmingham was dubbed "the home of heavy metal", suggesting a connection between the manufacturing industries of the Black Country and the music of Black Sabbath and others. Now James and Jibs of 'metalcore' group Oceans Ate Alaska have inherited - and trumped - their own fathers' heavy tastes.

And in a programme as much about community as cults, Laura talks with Birmingham's celebrated R&B singer Jaki Graham and traces the story of music in the clubs and on the streets of city.

Then, Laura heads west to South Wales to experience how another musical tradition associated with established industrial communities has been reinvented for modern times. During a rehearsal, conductor Richard Vaughan explains how Côr y Gleision - the Cardiff Blues Choir - has found a new home for famed Welsh singing.

Produced by Alan Hall

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

0420160326

The music writer Laura Barton visits four corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes. In this final programme, Laura explores two aspects of musical life in the capital.

Musical migrants, such as the Nigerian-born guitarist Femi Temowo, found a route into London's music scene via the church, whereas the American composer Nico Muhly has been adopted by the city's cosmopolitan contemporary music and arts milieu.

Their experiences contrast with archetypal London musicians Chas 'n' Dave, who made a point of singing in their own accents and created 'rockney' - a hybrid of cockney rock.

Laura examines immigrant and indigenous music within the landscape of London.

Produced by Alan Hall.

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

0101Living By Water20160305

The music writer Laura Barton visits four corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

In this first episode, Laura visits parts of the rugged countryside of Northumberland and the coastal city of Sunderland on Tyne and Wear to explore how music and landscape are intimately related.

In an environment defined by a beautiful coastline and great northern rivers, Kathryn Tickell, the violinist and Northumbrian piper, and Adrian McNally of the folk group The Unthanks share their experiences of performing and arranging traditional tunes that seem to have emerged from the sea and been hewn from the soil.

Members of the Sunderland band Frankie and the Heartstrings take Laura on a tour of the shop they established in the heart of the old industrial city to sell coffee, artworks and records, as well as to provide a rehearsal and gig space. They also perform acoustically in the famous Watch House, from which volunteer lifeboatmen would keep an eye on the Roker seashore.

And Peter Brewis of Field Music, based in a former industrial unit on the banks of the River Wear, tells Laura about the distinctive accents of music from this part of the North-East.

Produced by Alan Hall

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

0102Put A Donk On It!20160312

The music writer Laura Barton visits four corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

Crossing into Lancashire through the Upper Calder Valley, Laura visits the Great Bride Stones with musician and cultural geographer Rob St John, who's attuned to the unique sound qualities of this rural-industrial landscape.

Then she visits the Queen Street Mill Museum in Burnley and meets Colin, a weaver of fifty years and lover of elegiac Vaughan Williams, and listens to the loom-inspired music of Chaines.

She musically unpicks the origins of Donk, a high bpm (beats per minute) dance style unique to the North-West, with Tony Sabanskis of The Blackout Crew, and attends a band practice of a former colliery brass band, a more traditional musical emblem that flourishes still in post-industrial Haydock.

Produced by Alan Hall.

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

0103Floorboards And The Blues20160319

The music writer Laura Barton visits four corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

Long ago, the city of Birmingham was dubbed "the home of heavy metal", suggesting a connection between the manufacturing industries of the Black Country and the music of Black Sabbath and others. Now James and Jibs of 'metalcore' group Oceans Ate Alaska have inherited - and trumped - their own fathers' heavy tastes.

And in a programme as much about community as cults, Laura talks with Birmingham's celebrated R&B singer Jaki Graham and traces the story of music in the clubs and on the streets of city.

Then, Laura heads west to South Wales to experience how another musical tradition associated with established industrial communities has been reinvented for modern times. During a rehearsal, conductor Richard Vaughan explains how Côr y Gleision - the Cardiff Blues Choir - has found a new home for famed Welsh singing.

Produced by Alan Hall

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

010420160326

The music writer Laura Barton visits four corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes. In this final programme, Laura explores two aspects of musical life in the capital.

Musical migrants, such as the Nigerian-born guitarist Femi Temowo, found a route into London's music scene via the church, whereas the American composer Nico Muhly has been adopted by the city's cosmopolitan contemporary music and arts milieu.

Their experiences contrast with archetypal London musicians Chas 'n' Dave, who made a point of singing in their own accents and created 'rockney' - a hybrid of cockney rock.

Laura examines immigrant and indigenous music within the landscape of London.

Produced by Alan Hall.

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

02Blackbirds And Drums20170613

"Laura visits Belfast to gauge its musical temperature with composers and performers.

The music writer Laura Barton visits three corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

In Belfast, a city known for its industry and its Troubles, Laura is accompanied by the composer Deirdre Gribbin, who grew up in west Belfast and went to school along the Falls Road. They take a stroll along the towpath of the River Lagan, which Deirdre often visits to think through her orchestral music against the rhythms of the water.

Also, Laura visits three figures who still live in Northern Ireland - the avant garde performance artist Die Hexen, the musician David Holmes and the singer Susan McCann. She discusses how growing up during the conflict shaped their musical tastes, why country music is so popular in Belfast and what it's like to be at the cutting edge of musical innovation in the city.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

"

02Blackbirds and Drums20170613

Laura visits Belfast to gauge its musical temperature with composers and performers.

The music writer Laura Barton visits three corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

In Belfast, a city known for its industry and its Troubles, Laura is accompanied by the composer Deirdre Gribbin, who grew up in west Belfast and went to school along the Falls Road. They take a stroll along the towpath of the River Lagan, which Deirdre often visits to think through her orchestral music against the rhythms of the water.

Also, Laura visits three figures who still live in Northern Ireland - the avant garde performance artist Die Hexen, the musician David Holmes and the singer Susan McCann. She discusses how growing up during the conflict shaped their musical tastes, why country music is so popular in Belfast and what it's like to be at the cutting edge of musical innovation in the city.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Laura visits Belfast to gauge its musical temperature with composers and performers.

02Blackbirds and Drums20170923

"Laura visits Belfast to gauge its musical temperature with composers and performers.

The music writer Laura Barton visits three corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

In Belfast, a city known for its industry and its Troubles, Laura is accompanied by the composer Deirdre Gribbin, who grew up in west Belfast and went to school along the Falls Road. They take a stroll along the towpath of the River Lagan, which Deirdre often visits to think through her orchestral music against the rhythms of the water.

Also, Laura visits three figures who still live in Northern Ireland - the avant garde performance artist Die Hexen, the musician David Holmes and the singer Susan McCann. She discusses how growing up during the conflict shaped their musical tastes, why country music is so popular in Belfast and what it's like to be at the cutting edge of musical innovation in the city.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

"

02Blackbirds and Drums20170923

Laura visits Belfast to gauge its musical temperature with composers and performers.

The music writer Laura Barton visits three corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

In Belfast, a city known for its industry and its Troubles, Laura is accompanied by the composer Deirdre Gribbin, who grew up in west Belfast and went to school along the Falls Road. They take a stroll along the towpath of the River Lagan, which Deirdre often visits to think through her orchestral music against the rhythms of the water.

Also, Laura visits three figures who still live in Northern Ireland - the avant garde performance artist Die Hexen, the musician David Holmes and the singer Susan McCann. She discusses how growing up during the conflict shaped their musical tastes, why country music is so popular in Belfast and what it's like to be at the cutting edge of musical innovation in the city.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

02Blackbirds And Drums20170923

Laura visits Belfast to gauge its musical temperature with composers and performers.

The music writer Laura Barton visits three corners of Britain and listens closely to the music found in different landscapes.

In Belfast, a city known for its industry and its Troubles, Laura is accompanied by the composer Deirdre Gribbin, who grew up in west Belfast and went to school along the Falls Road. They take a stroll along the towpath of the River Lagan, which Deirdre often visits to think through her orchestral music against the rhythms of the water.

Also, Laura visits three figures who still live in Northern Ireland - the avant garde performance artist Die Hexen, the musician David Holmes and the singer Susan McCann. She discusses how growing up during the conflict shaped their musical tastes, why country music is so popular in Belfast and what it's like to be at the cutting edge of musical innovation in the city.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

02Ebb And Flow20170620

"Laura is in east Kent talking to musicians drawn to the coast around Ramsgate.

The fortunes of seaside towns in east Kent ebb and flow, just like the tides off the sands at Margate and the marina in Ramsgate.

Laura Barton visits an instrument-maker's workshop in Ramsgate where Shem Mackey, a long-time resident originally from Ireland, makes viola da gambas from fruit woods. She contemplates the light over the English Channel and the relentless rhythms of the water with Jules Bigg of Ramsgate Music Hall.

Laura also finds a musician who's colonised unlikely spaces for music-making. Johann Karlberg has built an immaculate studio in an industrial complex next to a tyre dump. Originally from Sweden, he's now happily settled in this corner of Kent making a global brand of music with The Very Best. And Daisy Emily Warne, aka Kub, has returned to the town of her childhood to walk her dog on Margate's 'golden mile' and make her distinctive electronic music.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

"

02Ebb and Flow20170620

Laura is in east Kent talking to musicians drawn to the coast around Ramsgate.

The fortunes of seaside towns in east Kent ebb and flow, just like the tides off the sands at Margate and the marina in Ramsgate.

Laura Barton visits an instrument-maker's workshop in Ramsgate where Shem Mackey, a long-time resident originally from Ireland, makes viola da gambas from fruit woods. She contemplates the light over the English Channel and the relentless rhythms of the water with Jules Bigg of Ramsgate Music Hall.

Laura also finds a musician who's colonised unlikely spaces for music-making. Johann Karlberg has built an immaculate studio in an industrial complex next to a tyre dump. Originally from Sweden, he's now happily settled in this corner of Kent making a global brand of music with The Very Best. And Daisy Emily Warne, aka Kub, has returned to the town of her childhood to walk her dog on Margate's 'golden mile' and make her distinctive electronic music.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Laura is in east Kent talking to musicians drawn to the coast around Ramsgate.

02Surf And Furze20170627

"Laura Barton takes a close listen to the music of Cornwall.

Laura Barton takes a close listen to the music of one of Britain's long-isolated locations, Cornwall.

The tradition of communal singing known as a Shout hasn't just survived in Cornwall. As Laura discovers in a pub outside Redruth, it's thriving. In a bar packed with young and old, songs about mining and fishing, in Cornish and English, compete with hymns and the occasional import from overseas, in high energy performances that define an oral tradition. None are sung more full-heartedly than Kerra Kernow, beloved Cornwall.

Laura talks with Hilary Coleman of the celebrated Cornish folk group Dalla about the qualities of the folk tradition in the Duchy and with two singer-songwriters. Florence MacDonald, who also teaches music in primary schools, describes what drew her back to Cornwall, and Ruarri Joseph, aka William the Conqueror, considers the balance he maintains between the demands of touring and the allure of the surf off Newquay and the woods and hills of his childhood home.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

"

02Surf and Furze20170627

Laura Barton takes a close listen to the music of Cornwall.

02Surf and Furze20170627

Laura Barton takes a close listen to the music of Cornwall.

Laura Barton takes a close listen to the music of one of Britain's long-isolated locations, Cornwall.

The tradition of communal singing known as a Shout hasn't just survived in Cornwall. As Laura discovers in a pub outside Redruth, it's thriving. In a bar packed with young and old, songs about mining and fishing, in Cornish and English, compete with hymns and the occasional import from overseas, in high energy performances that define an oral tradition. None are sung more full-heartedly than Kerra Kernow, beloved Cornwall.

Laura talks with Hilary Coleman of the celebrated Cornish folk group Dalla about the qualities of the folk tradition in the Duchy and with two singer-songwriters. Florence MacDonald, who also teaches music in primary schools, describes what drew her back to Cornwall, and Ruarri Joseph, aka William the Conqueror, considers the balance he maintains between the demands of touring and the allure of the surf off Newquay and the woods and hills of his childhood home.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

0202Ebb And Flow20170620

Laura is in east Kent talking to musicians drawn to the coast around Ramsgate.

The fortunes of seaside towns in east Kent ebb and flow, just like the tides off the sands at Margate and the marina in Ramsgate.

Laura Barton visits an instrument-maker's workshop in Ramsgate where Shem Mackey, a long-time resident originally from Ireland, makes viola da gambas from fruit woods. She contemplates the light over the English Channel and the relentless rhythms of the water with Jules Bigg of Ramsgate Music Hall.

Laura also finds a musician who's colonised unlikely spaces for music-making. Johann Karlberg has built an immaculate studio in an industrial complex next to a tyre dump. Originally from Sweden, he's now happily settled in this corner of Kent making a global brand of music with The Very Best. And Daisy Emily Warne, aka Kub, has returned to the town of her childhood to walk her dog on Margate's 'golden mile' and make her distinctive electronic music.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

0203Surf And Furze20170627

Laura Barton takes a close listen to the music of Cornwall.

Laura Barton takes a close listen to the music of one of Britain's long-isolated locations, Cornwall.

The tradition of communal singing known as a Shout hasn't just survived in Cornwall. As Laura discovers in a pub outside Redruth, it's thriving. In a bar packed with young and old, songs about mining and fishing, in Cornish and English, compete with hymns and the occasional import from overseas, in high energy performances that define an oral tradition. None are sung more full-heartedly than Kerra Kernow, beloved Cornwall.

Laura talks with Hilary Coleman of the celebrated Cornish folk group Dalla about the qualities of the folk tradition in the Duchy and with two singer-songwriters. Florence MacDonald, who also teaches music in primary schools, describes what drew her back to Cornwall, and Ruarri Joseph, aka William the Conqueror, considers the balance he maintains between the demands of touring and the allure of the surf off Newquay and the woods and hills of his childhood home.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.