Performance from Belfast based Downshire Brass for a recent online global competition.
All recorded under strict social distancing measures.
‘Tales and Yarns from Home’
The programme by Downshire Brass draws its inspiration from the people, places and cultures of Northern Ireland. In a sequence of three interlinked works composed and arranged by the band’s MD, the programme takes us on a journey from the ancient, rural landscapes of Co Down to the modern, urban maritime landscapes of Belfast – from the old to the new.The programme opens with an arrangement of “She Moved through the Fair”, featuring flugelhorn soloist Lauren Stewart and solo contributions from Gary Dodsworth, Lauren Ward and Jonny Sproule. The piece is scored for the lower instruments in the band together with two vibraphones – played conventionally and bowed. The second and third works were written specially for this contest by the band’s MD and recorded in the last few weeks in his garage!
The second piece is based on a traditional tune, “A Ragged Hank of Yarn”, which Michael Alcorn notes is a reflection on the historical importance of crafts and the textile industries to Northern Ireland in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This traditional reel gives way to a solo, played by the band’s principal euphonium Jonny Sproule, symbolising the transition from rural to urban, from County Down to Belfast in the 1940s and 50s and the strains of the well-known local song “I’ll Tell Me Ma” begin to emerge.
The last part is a short romp that takes us through Belfast’s maritime quarter and features various brass solos, duos and trios along with vocal contributions from special guests Gracenotes.