The emerging talent of the Calder Valley was on display at St Michael’s Enterprise Centre, Mytholmroyd, on Saturday after a songwriting workshop led by Michelle Plum and Nick Hall, collectively known as Plumhall.
Two songwriting workshops were held during the day followed by a performance in which seven new songs were showcased – songs that were written, recorded and performed all on one day.
“We were genuinely stunned by the talent and commitment displayed by the adults and young people we met and worked with today. Thanks to the organisers Viv and Dave Boardman, and everyone who made it such a success,” said Nick.
“Songs showed great imagination and creativity,” according to Dave Boardman, “and highlighted the wealth of talent in this valley.”
The event was organised on behalf of The White Ribbon Campaign against violence to women and the lyrics reflected the issues raised by the campaign. Thea Farman, Chico Kerouac, Kipper Ryan and Tom Read created a song called If Walls Had Ears, which combined Thea’s singing and a rap from Tom. “All from the point of view of the house, brilliant,” added Dave.
The brand new songs were performed in the evening as part of a gig by workshop leaders Plumhall, winners of the Yorkshire Gig Guide Outstanding Songwriters Award 2014 and rising stars on the acoustic scene.
Songwriter Michelle Plum, who has been part of several successful collaborations before, including being with Chumbawamba and Waking the Witch, said she was ‘amazed’ and the talent on display – especially from the younger participants.
About half of those at the workshops were from Calder High School, brought along by music teacher Suzanne Peers. “We had a great day – and a valuable experience – thanks to Plumhall and the White Ribbon Campaign,” Suzanne commented.
Not all the workshop participants were available for the evening performance, so Plumhall helped out. Fourteen-year-old Lauren Ward was excited to find that the song Living Again that she’d written with others in the afternoon was performed by herself and Michelle Plum in the evening. Nick Hall accompanied Brian Toberman on Mr Nice Guy adding lead guitar to the as they jammed the new song.
There were also several names known on the local music scene. Songwriter Terry Logan honed a song she had been working on for a while and duo Deerhair - Sean Pattison and Elly O Grady – attended to help their progression from covers to original songs.
Sean and Elly along with Brian Toberman are involved in organising a Folk Roots festival to highlight local performers in Hebden Bridge on May 15 to 19 and now plan to include a showcase of young talent as part of the event.
“The event was a great success,” said Chris Green of the White Ribbon Campaign.
“We hope to create a CD of new songs about the issues of violence to women, hopefully including some of those written at these workshops.
“And thanks to Hebden Royd Town Council for sponsoring the event”.
Rochdale based music project Youth 21 has offered recording studio space to turn the rough demos into finished recordings and there are plans afoot for a White Ribbon Music Festival later in the year.