Laura Barton's Notes From A Musical Island

Episodes

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Broadcast
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01Living by Water20160305

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.

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.