Friendly memories of brass from the past

Miscellany: Friendly Band harks back to a down-to-earth era
Miscellany: Friendly Band harks back to a down-to-earth era

Founded on a bed-rock of work and less play, the brass band could be an anachronism in our increasingly electronic lives.

Forcing air into a voluptuous lump of metal to create musical harmony is a misunderstood memory of our grandparents but nevertheless affecting in its ability to promote and delve into the emotional rhythm and discord of our daily grind.

Less grind does not equate to less impact as this stunning performance by Friendly Band proved, with its up-tempo miscellany of tunes. Inevitable marches, through the broad expanse of the Russian Steppes with the familiar, haunting Cossack Patrol to a soulful interpretation of Georgia On My Mind, with its impressive horn solo and on to the Blues Brothers’ Everybody Needs Somebody.

An astonishingly young (nine!) and accomplished percussionist was complemented by a clutch of ageless brass players, all clawing plaintively at our memories and emotions as only these instruments can.

Appropriately, through the windows of Square Chapel, against the summer green of Beacon Hill, interspersed with chimneys and mills, we listened to the world premiere of John Stanley’s Simply Summer.

We left with a warm memory of the sound of brass, penetrating and honest, its respect for real people and real lives unswerving. Good stuff!

Derek Greenwood