Gifted local Weardale musician and song writer Andrew Davison is set to entertain visitors to Killhope this summer with songs about the lives of lead miners.
The Stanhope-based musician has written six folk songs that depict the working and social lives of Weardale’s 19 th Century lead miners. He said: “Sometimes the stories about the people get lost and I was determined that these stories wouldn’t be forgotten. By turning them into songs it is a succinct yet engaging way to tell them so while it is entertaining for the visitors it is also part of the educational experience.”
Andrew will be performing to members of the public during underground mine trips at the Durham County Council-run Killhope Museum on Sunday 24 and 31 July at 3pm and a CD of the songs played on the mine trip entitled Minefolk will also be for sale in the Killhope shop.
He added: “Performing underground for the first time was a really unique experience for both me and the Killhope staff I was trying it out on. The different spaces of the mine offer different acoustics; one minute the sound can be really flat, the next minute it will be bouncing and echoing around you – it’s a challenge and you have to tailor your voice and playing to suit each space.
“It’s also a very intimate experience, the audience members will be just a foot or so away from me and that is something pretty unique for both me and them. It makes the stories more personal though and the staff who trialled the performances with me thought it was fantastic so I can’t wait to get the feedback from our summer visitors and see their faces… or not when I turn out the lights!”
Andrew’s songs include tales of the history of the Killhope site, its working men and boys and their hardships and friendships. The musician added: “Some of the songs are quite poignant and emotional, others are pretty jolly and there is the chance for the visitors to join in too with a bit of audience participation in one of the numbers.”
Rediscover Killhope Project Officer, Maria McArdle, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Andrew to Killhope over the coming weeks as part of our extended offer to summer visitors. We hope that visitors not only enjoy his wonderful folk music, so typical of this part of the Dale, but that they also go away feeling like they have learned something about the people of this region and what makes Killhope such a special place.”
The Minefolk tour runs on Sunday 24 July and Sunday 31 July at 3pm. Places are limited and are on a first come, first served basis, usual admission charges apply.