Yorkshire Silent Film Festival 'Echoes of the North'

Take a trip back in time through music and film before the New Year?
December 30, 2022

A new film made from more than a hundred fragments of archive film is now available to watch online. Yorkshire Silent Film Festival has released Echoes of the North; Four Chapters in Time for a limited period following its premiere in Morecambe last month. This new silent film with an original brass score transports viewers back to Northern England a century ago.

Echoes of the North has been created in partnership with Yorkshire Film Archive, North West Film Archive, North East Film Archive, and London’s Archive Film Agency, and edited by Andy Burns. It takes viewers down the highways and byways of northern life in the early 20th century - its industries and rural life, its wartimes and festivals, its holidays, family excursions and huge, city-wide occasions.

Morecambe Volunteers In Training. 1914

The sixty minute film is accompanied by a new score – the first ever all-brass soundtrack for a silent film – composed by acclaimed composer and musician Neil Brand. Brand brings his unique touch with silent film, breathing new life into the rare and evocative images with his brass score. The soundtrack was recorded – with support from digital agency The Space - live at the film’s premiere at Yorkshire Silent Film Festival in November, performed by the world-famous Brighouse and Rastrick Band with conductor Ben Palmer, who also orchestrated the score.

Composer Neil Brand said:

“If ever a marriage of two art forms was long overdue, it is this coming together of silent film and brass band music. The wonderful, resonant images of people going about their lives, work, play and conflict in the first 30 years of the last century spring to life with the timeless beauty of the brass band sound, music that evolves and matches every contrasting mood for us today, just as it could have done when these scenes were shot. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to create scores for these images, and to work with one of the greatest bands in the world.”

Jonny Best, artistic director of Yorkshire Silent Film Festival, said:

“Following the phenomenal reception at last month’s premiere, we’re excited to share Echoes of the North with viewers far and wide.  We hope that people across the North, all over the UK, and further afield, will enjoy watching this one of a kind film. Whether you’re interested in the history and heritage of Northern England or simply love the glorious sound of brass, the beautiful archive footage combined with the stunning soundtrack will take you an emotional journey back in time.”

Opening Of Middlesbrough's Transporter Bridge. 1911

Echoes of the North was commissioned by No Dots with support from PRS Foundation’s Open Fund for Organisations, and Arts Council England. The premiere performance at the fifth Yorkshire Silent Film Festival in November 2022 was supported by BFI Film Audience Network with National Lottery funding as part of the CURIOUS engagement fund. The online release is supported by The Space, with funding from Arts Council England.

Audience feedback from Echoes of the North premiere:

“A cultural highlight of my life.”

“Absolutely wonderful. So evocative. Really beautiful stuff.”

“What a fantastic piece of art. Funny, moving, all embracing. Absolutely stunning.”

Header Image: Scarborough North Bay. 1927