Thursday, July 07, 2011

Jóhann Jóhannsson - The Miners' Hymns

 Jóhann Jóhannsson - The Miners' Hymns

 Jóhann Jóhannsson - The Miners' Hymns (FatCat Records, 2011)

Tonight's show features Jóhann Jóhannsson's They Being Dead Yet Speaketh taken from his latest FatCat release The Miners' Hymns. The album is the soundtrack to Bill Morrison's film of the same name. 

The Miners' Hymns is an elegy, in film and music, to the coal mining history of north east England, Morrison has collaged archive film footage to celebrate the labour, endurance, vibrant community and rich culture that characterised the lives of those who worked underground. The music of The Miners’ Hymns is predominantly brass-based material evoking traditional colliery brass bands. The soundtack was performed live last year at a screening of the film in Durham Cathedral during the city's International Festival.  

 The Miners' Hymnes directed by Bill Morrison (BFI, 2011)

According to FatCat Records: "The Miners’ Hymns’ project was initially commissioned for Durham County Council’s 'Brass: Durham International Festival', which incorporated the Durham Miners' Gala into a programme celebrating the culture of mining and the strong regional tradition of brass bands. Once the biggest trade union festival in Europe, attracting up to a quarter of a million people, the annual Gala continues despite the fact that coal is no longer mined in a county that was built on it."

"Created from BFI, BBC and other archive footage and produced by the British arts organisation, Forma, Morrison’s ‘The Miners Hymns’ film celebrates social, cultural, and political aspects of the extinct industry, and the strong regional tradition of colliery brass bands. Focusing on the Durham coalfield in the North East of the UK, the film is structured around a series of activities including touching on the terrible hardship of pit work, the role of Trade Unions in organising and fighting for workers' rights, and the pitched battles with police during the 1984 strike as Thatcher's government sounded the death knell for the industry. Whilst almost entirely composed of black and white archive footage, the film also includes two contemporary sequences shot in colour from a helicopter hovering over the sites of former collieries."