Out of the Shadows

Monday, 28 February 2022

Love, Spit And Valve Oil

Martin Green with members of Whitburn Brass Band (photo Sandy Butler)
Martin Green with members of Whitburn Brass Band (photo Sandy Butler)

Martin Green is perhaps best known amongst lovers of folk-music. He trained with and has performed with some of the major names in folk, and with his trio Lau, plays almost entirely self-composed material. Green has also written for other genres, include the theatre, a song cycle Crows’ Bones for Opera North in 2012/13 and Seiche for the Kronos Quartet’s UK tour in 2016.

For the last year, Green has been embedded in another, very different traditional genre, the brass band. He has spent the year surrounded by the communities, the competition and the legacy of coal and in a new documentary on BBC Radio 4, Love, Spit And Valve Oil, Green explores the world of brass bands, discovering why banding in Britain has outlasted the pits, the picket lines and the closures.  For generations, the self-contained world of the bands has been a refuge, a community-building practice and a source of healing.

The end result of Martin Green's odyssey through brass banding isn't just a documentary, he has also written his first work for brass band. The three-part documentary is transmitted from 3 March 2022, and then on 3 April 2022, Whitburn Brass Band will give the premiere of Martin Green’s new work, titled Split the Air, at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre as part of Wonder Festival. The event will also feature a preview of Keli, a new audio drama by Martin Green and Wils Wilson also inspired by the brass band community. Keli is the fictional story of a troubled young horn player, composed by Martin Green, co-created and directed by Wils Wilson, and starring James Cosmo and Anna Russell Martin, Keli will be fully released on The Lyceum’s Sound Stage on April 26th

Split the Air is one of ten new works commissioned for the PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial 2022, Split the Air returns to the stage at the festival weekends in Coventry UK City of Culture (Sat 23 April) and London’s Southbank (Sat 2 July). Celebrating the legacy of banding and looking to its future, the work will be performed by the talented young players of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.  

Further details from Martin Green's website.

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