Counting down to the return of BRASS
Rehearsals are now well underway for the return of Durham BRASS in just over two weeks.
The festival, which is one of the highlights of our annual events programme, promises a week bursting with spectacular performances, new commissions, school workshops, free concerts at care homes and a full programme of lively street bands when it returns from Sunday 10 to Sunday 17 July.
Kicking off the festival with a new commission for BRASS are Field Music & NASUWT Riverside Band, with the acts currently fine-tuning what promises to be a fantastic performance.
Binding Time - Songs & Stories from the Durham Coalfields will be performed at Gala Durham as part of a new commission for the festival in partnership with Redhills and Durham Miners' Association.
Funded by Arts Council England, it will see Sunderland duo Peter and David Brewis perform a new set of songs inspired by the growth and decline of coal mining in the region, accompanied by a seven-piece brass section from the NASUWT Riverside Band.
Nick Malyan, chief executive of Redhills, said: "We're so pleased that audiences can finally see and hear 'Binding Time' at this year's festival. David and Peter dug deep into the history of the Durham miners to produce this wonderful new suite of songs from the coalfield."
Since their debut in 2005 Mercury Prize nominees Field Music have released eight critically acclaimed albums, most recently 2021's Flat White Moon, as well as a varied catalogue of collaborations, soundtracks and solo albums.
David said: "Working on this project has been a real privilege. To start with a pile of history books and family stories, shape them into songs, and then have life literally blown into them by this wonderful brass band is quite an experience.
"A colliery band has such a specific sound so we really hoped we could find a balance between that and the kinds of harmony and rhythm which make us tick. I think we've just about managed it and we can't wait to share it with audiences."
Field Music's performance starts at 7.30pm on Sunday 10 July. See a preview of this and book tickets for BRASS: Durham International Festival.
BRASS is just one of the many cultural events and activities taking place in County Durham this year, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to cultural-led regeneration. This includes delivering key projects within County Durham's shortlisted UK City of Culture bid and raising the county's profile as a fantastic place to live, work, visit and invest. It also includes progressing major capital projects, such as the redevelopment of the former DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery into a stunning new creative centre showcasing national and international contemporary art alongside collections that celebrate the county's heritage.
The festival will also see some of the UK's finest artists booked to perform in iconic locations such as Durham Cathedral and a series of memorable community performances across the county.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "We have such an exciting week ahead with the return of BRASS and we can't wait to welcome so many talented acts and lots of enthusiastic visitors.
"County Durham has such a rich history of brass music so it feels fitting that we have a north east duo to get the festival started. As well as a celebration of all things brass - from traditional big band music to more contemporary artists who are taking brass in a new direction, there really is something for everyone and we look forward to creating some unforgettable experiences for our communities."