NEW MUSIC INSPIRED BY HUDDERSFIELD HIGH STREET AND CREATED BY LOCAL SCHOOL CHILDREN TO PREMIERE THIS SUMMER

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Professional musician Chris Ruffoni will soon be working with Castle Hill School to create musical compositions inspired by Huddersfield high street thanks to a new Historic England and Live Music Now project. 

A public performance of the new piece will take place this summer on 15 July at Brian Jackson House, between 2.00 – 7.00pm. 

‘Round Here is part of the wider High Street Heritage Action Zone in Huddersfield. 

Six High Street Heritage Action Zone communities across England will work with a professional musician and young emerging talent to draw out their thoughts, experiences and memories to create beautiful and unique musical compositions.

Chris Ruffoni is a member of Band of Jays, a Huddersfield-based trio playing original songs about people turning into birds, communication with aliens and other unexpected matters. Their music oozes luscious three-part harmonies, supported by delicately entwined acoustic guitar, bass and percussion. Over the years they have enjoyed performing in unusual places including meditation centres, libraries, narrow boats, a milk float, a truck, a farmyard and in the smallest venue in the UK. The whimsical nature of their songs lends itself to playful, light and interactive performances.

By harnessing the connective power of music, the project seeks to strengthen connections with our surroundings, in particular the local high street.

Musician Jessica Whyke, who performs under the name PENNY, will be working alongside Chris Ruffoni. PENNY is a Huddersfield based artist, with sweet and bewitching vocals, irresistible melodies and West Yorkshire charm. PENNY bares all on her songs, as she displays sentiments on toxic relationships and self-worth. While supporting the likes of Sophie Ellis Bextor and Selah Sue, through a series of upbeat, electro-pop ballads, PENNY tackles her dreams, her queerness, and her mental health journey.

The new pieces will be performed in live musical moments across all six sites and produced into a series of music videos curated by a young digital creative to celebrate the secrets of the heritage in our high streets. 

‘Round Here is also engaging two emerging producers and working with musician mentors.

‘Round Here locations are: 

  • Huddersfield 
  • Barrow-in-Furness 
  • Brierley Hill 
  • Chatham Intra 
  • Tottenham 
  • Weston-super-Mare 

 

Ellen Harrison, Head of Creative Programmes and Campaigns at Historic England, said: “We’re delighted to have commissioned Live Music Now to co-create new musical pieces across six High Street Heritage Action Zones, bringing live performances to the high street this summer. Each piece will be shaped by local people and their experiences of their neighbourhood, so we’re delighted to be working with a diverse cast of musicians and community groups to express their pride of place through music.” 

Janet Fischer, CEO of Live Music Now, said: “Live Music Now is delighted to be working with Historic England and communities across England to celebrate their local heritage, hidden histories, and high streets. ‘Round Here will be a unique album of stories, songs spun from the voices of local residents, through the musical artistry of young people and Live Music Now musicians. Music is a constant soundtrack to our lives, and this project is a fantastic opportunity to explore how it connects us to where we live.”  

‘Round Here is commissioned by Historic England as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more engaging and vibrant places. 

Produced in association with Kirklees Council and the Huddersfield High Street Heritage Action Zone cultural consortium.

Emerging Producers

Kaitlin Germain is from Pontefract (where Haribo is made!). She is excited to be part of ‘Round Here in order to explore places she haven’t visited yet, all the while experiencing the local music.

James Callaghan is from Dudley which is a special area with a large history. It holds Dudley Castle and the Black Country Museum which often features in Peaky Blinders. He’s incredibly excited about this project as it uses music as a language to connect people to their areas and to learn things they might never have discovered.

National Digital Creative

Connor Divers is a videographer and filmmaker from Penrith, Cumbria. His favourite thing about Penrith is the forest walk to the Beacon, a signal tower on top of a hill built in the 1700s, and the woodlands behind it. He’s excited to be involved in this project to get people involved in screen arts. 

Mentors

Sarah Fisher is a multi-instrumentalist and community musician based in Gateshead, North East England. Sarah facilitates music workshops for people of all ages and abilities and specialises in inclusive music making. Sarah has cerebral palsy and a hyperkinetic movement disorder affecting her left side and speech. This has enabled her to develop alternative ways to play and deliver music that does not hinder her or her participants’ music-making experiences. Sarah will be mentoring emerging musicians during the ‘Round Here project.

Mary Otumahana is the award-winning founder of The RecordShop and musician. She has had the privilege of partnering with global brands, such as O2 Telefonica, Samsung, Dr Martens, Sofar Sounds, Nike, Tottenham Hotspur and RedBull to help them reach Millennial and Gen Z audiences. The RecordShop began as a pop-up recording studio and is now a multi-purpose music space that enables young people to access music services and facilities for free. Mary has been based in Haringey for 

6 years and has built a strong network that bridges the gap between the inner-city community and brands. She is passionate about bringing young people into professional spaces and reconnecting brands with young people and music culture. Mary will be mentoring Live Music Now musicians during ‘Round Here. 

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