Harmonious collaboration

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NATIONAL and Yorkshire champion band, Brighouse and Rastrick, are part way through a groundbreaking tour which sees them sharing the stage with Mercury Prize-nominated Tyneside band The Unthanks.

The tour got underway before a capacity audience in the glorious setting of Durham Cathedral and there was a second performance for 1,600 people at the Barbican Hall in London. The combined tour will start again in September with performances at the Lowry Centre, Manchester, and at Leeds Town Hall.

B & R’s musical director Sandy Smith has been working on special band arrangements for the shows to accompany The Unthanks’ poignant tales of love and loss, based in the coal-mining heritage of the north-east.

At the end of the inaugural performance as part of Durham Brass festival, the band and folk group were rewarded with a standing ovation and applause which lasted for several minutes.

B & R contributed a number of solo items including ‘North Country Fantasy’, a boisterous medley of popular songs such as ‘On Ilkley Moor’ and ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ which delighted the audience. Reviews of the show praised the moody and restrained settings created by the band’s players for the simple and moving voices of the Unthank sisters.

Pianist Adrian McNally also contributed a four-part suite composed in honour of his and Rachel Unthank’s newly-born son, George.

B & R is now taking a summer break before reuniting with The Unthanks in the autumn.