A partnership with trombonist Rick Taylor and two poets,
Graeme Rigby and Keith Armstrong, in the Dreaming North
project has proved an ability to develop themes in a variety of musical
settings, including arrangements for strings and percussion. Projects include
an album produced by Gateshead Libraries and Northern Arts,
a music-theatre piece 'O'er The Hills' about infamous Northumbrian piper
Jamie Allan, and a special commission for the Tall Ships celebrations in
Newcastle-upon-Tyne featuring stories from the North of England (and the
rest of the world!) all connected with sailing and the sea.The group's highly
acclaimed live performances included the 1989 European Poetry Festival
in Belgium. The history of the River Wear in music, song and poetry performed
by Dreaming North and The Mistry String Quartet was broadcast by the
BBC in 1990. 'Birdsongs' was the last project produced by the group with songs
and words about diverse subjects from nuclear missiles to Chinese ghost stories - and birds!
(Two members of the Dreaming North group, Keith Morris (saxaphone, compositions) and Bruce
Arthur (percussion), both wonderfully talented musicians, died tragically last year. Cliché it might be
but their music lives on and we won't ever forget them.)
I have also collaborated with writer Keith Armstrong on two further commissions;
one for the Hexham Abbey Festival tracing the history of the abbey and
surrounding district, and one, with writer Linda France, about the life
of painter John Martin.
In April 2006 John Kenny (trombone) and I performed with poet and theatre producer Grantly Marshall; an evening of
readings of Grantly's poetry with compositions and improvisations from the two musicians. This took place in America
House in Munich, Germany. This collective will perform again in Stuttgart and Munich in May 2007.