Spirit of Tarset

Spirit of Tarset; Music and Art

The idea of the Spirit of Tarset came from local people amongst whom there are many talented musicians.  VARC worked with them and with Gavin Thorogood to develop the project and commission folk musician and composer Luke Daniels and sound artist and composer James Wyness.

Daniels and Wyness each made new pieces and came together to produce the sound track for Gavin Thorogood’s moving image sequence Hybrid.  Each new piece of work expresses the artists’ experience of the people, traditions and spectacular landscape of Tarset.

The project culminated in July in performances at Queens Hall, Hexham and at Tarset Village Hall.  Both were memorable and successful occasions with around 80 people attending the finale event in Tarset.

The events included the presentation of new music, sound and audio-visual work as well as new arrangements to traditional tunes performed by talented local musicians who had been playing and rehearsing with Luke Daniels, short pieces played by children from Greenhaugh First School on penny whistles and a short film by Pamela Robertson-Pearce.

Local musician Gwennie Fraser has said:

“It has been exciting seeing new work emerge in direct response to the high, wild open landscape of Tarset and new arrangements created for traditional tunes.  From the seed of an idea something vivid and dynamic has evolved. It has been a pleasure to share a love of the place and its music with the inspiration and insights of others, and to be part of what has been a very rewarding creative process.”  Gwennie Fraser

Besides performers there were many others who took part in workshops and demonstrations as part of the project – other musicians and children from Greenhaugh First School who worked with Luke Daniels, children at Otterburn Youth Culb where James Wyness led a demonstration/workshop, local people who came along to a similar event in the Village Hall, Fine Art students from Newcastle University who spent time with Gavin Thorogood and James Wyness in workshops at Highgreen and local people and visitors who took part in the esemplastic workshop led by staff from the Royal College of Art, London.

David Butler of Newcastle University’s Fine Art Department said of the experience:

‘The two-day workshop we did at Highgreen was a fantastic opportunity for students stuying fine art to see how their discipline can cross boundaries and new kinds of work can emerge through collaboration with musicians and sound artists responding to a specific location.’

A lot of this activity as well as the creation and performance of new work has been documented on film by Pamela Robertson-Pearce. VARC produced a DVD of The Spirit of Tarset – visit our shop to get more information on the DVD and place an order.