13 Apr 2021

Find out more about A Song for East Riding with Gavin Bryars

Tell us about your connection to East Riding and what it means to you.

I was born in Goole and lived there for the first twenty years or so of my life and always think of it as my hometown. I lived by the river and was aware that, at that time, the East Riding was on the other side of the Ouse. Many of my schoolfriends came to school from that part of the county and my older brother still lives there (North Cave). I still have a season ticket for Goole AFC…

What was the inspiration behind your song for East Riding?

I love the spirit of the people in Goole. This song is an affectionate and uplifting commentary on the people and landscape in this unique part of the country. For me no one embodies the spirit of the town and county better than the late Goole Town AFC president, Eric Lawton who died last year, and the work was composed in memory of him.

You’ve written the song for a local choir and brass band, tell us about them and how the collaboration came about.

Charlie Studdy at Junction, Goole, suggested local choir Read’s Warblers and Armthorpe Elmfield Brass Band. They’ve greatly influenced the piece which has been written specifically with them in mind. It’s been really special being able to collaborate with them. Composing for ensembles such as theirs is arguably more meaningful than writing for a major international orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for people wanting to create their own song for the music map?

Look very carefully at what you perceive as the essential character of your home environment – its physical characteristics, the peculiar nature of the people themselves.

What do you hope A Song for Us will bring to the people of East Riding at this time?

I hope that they will be able to recognise something of themselves in the piece, to take pride in the place and to identify with aspects of it too.