A Song For East Riding – Above Water

30th April - 31st May
Online Premiere 12.30pm, then available to listen on demand

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Goole-born composer Gavin Bryars’ new Song for East Riding, Above Water, will be premiered on asongforus.org from 12.30pm on 30 April 2021. A nationwide project, A Song for Us commissioned leading music creators across genres to write new songs inspired by the people of their county. A Song for East Riding – Above Water by Gavin Bryars is commissioned by Sound UK and Junction, Goole and is available online for 12 months. 

Gavin Bryars worked with poet and long-term collaborator Blake Morrison to create a new piece of music dedicated to his hometown that celebrates the character of the East Riding.  Above Water (A Song for the East Riding, from Goole) is an affectionate and uplifting commentary on the people and landscape in this unique part of the country.  Bryars felt that no one embodied the spirit of the town and country better than the late Goole AFC president, Eric Lawton who died last year, the work was composed in memory of him.

A Song for Us recognises the positive role community choirs and ensembles play in keeping people connected. The commissioned song has been written for and performed by Read’s Warblers, a collection of singing groups from the Goole area, and Armthorpe Elmfield Brass Band who have over 50 years of rich musical history. 

Alongside Gavin Bryars (East Riding), A Song for Us commissions This Is The Kit & Bucky (Bristol), Gwenno (Cornwall), Skinny Pelembe (South Yorkshire) and Seth Lakeman (Devon) to write new songs in the first in a series of County Songs.  A Song for Us will expand, commissioning another ten composers through regional partnerships, to be announced in spring 2021. These additional new songs will be premiered each month from June 2021 to March 2022.

Originally planned to be performed and recorded live, lockdown 3 has meant each song will now be performed and recorded remotely and edited together as a video montage.  A poignant snapshot of where we are as a nation. Live performances of the songs will take place as soon as restrictions allow. Each A Song for Us commission will be streamed online for up to 12 months.

Born in Goole and still a season ticket holder for Goole Town FC, Gavin Bryars has continually shunned convention, treading his own distinctive and unique path. Starting as a jazz bassist and pioneer of free improvisation with Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley, he worked with John Cage in the late 60s. Early iconic pieces The Sinking of the Titanic and Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet achieved great popular success. Since this time Bryars has composed four operas, a large body of chamber music, several concertos and a soundtrack to the Goole-Hull train journey.


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