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David Chatton Barker, The Whitworth and Healey Vale Brass Band

Brown Wardle Hill (LP)

Label: Folklore Tapes

Format: LP

Genre: Compositional

In stock


Brown Wardle Hill stands as an imposing yet noble hill on the South Pennine Moors of Whitworth, Rossendale, Lancashire. Regarded as a site of prehistoric importance due to the overwhelming amount of mesolithic flint scatterings discovered during the early 20th century, the hill also boasts an incredible amount of lore and legend.

In 2019 David Chatton Barker spent a year walking and researching into the hill and its surrounding moors, the material gathered formed a series of performances, culminating in the book 'Lorelines'. David discovered the local brass Whitworth and Healey Vale Brass Band and forged a creative partnership including recordings for Folklore Tapes editions 'The Queen of the Well' and 'Mother Redcap' (both feature on this release). The lore and legend David discovered, sprang from several sources of antiquity, most notably the 'little red book'; 'The Vale of Whitworth, Its Moorlands, Favourite Nooks, Green Lanes, Scenery' by local historian William Robertson and another rambler of the vale known as Maxim, who walked the moors, held historic seminars and fastidiously collected newspaper clippings of local events, archaeology and topography.

The compositions cover a breadth of history, sites and characters including; The Famine Tower; a 40 ft stone folly built by out of work mill operatives during the cotton famine | The Lady of the Barrow; a neolithic lady whose burnt remains and personal items were discovered in a burial chamber | Intack Farm; once known as the most haunted house in the north of England | The Baum Rabbit; a white rabbit who works alongside a fairy queen to bring about a cure to the black plague | Treacle Sanderson; once the fastest fell runner in England | The Queen of the Well; a water naiad who lures hapless victims into her watery domain.

Further embedding the music in the landscape is the subtle weaving of field recordings captured at several of the locations; bird song, wind through rushes, water from a spring and wind through stoney ruins, all evoke a sense of place through a cinematic sonic lens. The album also marks a personal end of a chapter for David who lived in the Vale of Whitworth for six years, just on the edge of the moors, in the shadow of Brown Wardle Hill itself. The compositions were all recorded on the second take in the rehearsal room at the brass band club in Whitworth, by six players from the band. The songs were captured on 4-track tape and digital by Sam McLoughlin. The compositions were transcribed for brass band by Sam Milton

Cat. number: n/a
Year: 2023