The Rooted Suite—Inspired by Teesdale

Rooted CD front cover picture

Rooted—A Teesdale Suite, the first CD by Cream Tees

Click here to listen to the Rooted tracks.

To see a short film by Jim Woodland of Blaize Community Arts about the making of the new composition, look below!

The Music at the Heart of Teesdale project began in 2012 with the aim of reviving the folk music, song and dance traditions of Teesdale. As part of the project, M@HoT’s youth folk band Cream Tees was formed for young people aged 8–18.

In its third year, the band was challenged to produce a new piece of music inspired by the landscapes of the Heart of Teesdale and the folk traditions to which their tutors had introduced them.

So on a bitter wintry day in March 2012, we ventured out to visit some of the iconic places and landscapes in Teesdale that were to provide inspiration for their tunes. We clambered down to the Meeting of the Waters, where the swirling Greta River meets the Tees, a spot made famous in the artwork of Turner and others.

Gilroy Murals, The Morritt

Cream Tees band members study the Gilroy Murals at The Morritt, Greta Bridge. (Photo courtesy Paul Place.)

We were treated to a lively talk about the Gilroy murals in the warmth of the Charles Dickens Room in The Morritt at Greta Bridge. We shivered among the imposing ruins of Egglestone Abbey and Bowes Castle; we were saddened by the story of hard times and cruelty at nearby Dotheboys Hall, one of the infamous Yorkshire Schools exposed by Dickens in his novel Nicholas Nickelby.

Cream Tees at Egglestone Abbey

Cream Tees band members visit Egglestone Abbey. (Photo courtesy Paul Place.)

But the sun shone on wild Cotherstone Moor and we were glad to return to the warmth of our spiritual home at The Hub in Barnard Castle. There, under the guidance of tutors Sophy Ball and Ian Stephenson, the young musicians began to turn the emotions and feelings stirred by their visits into musical form, producing a wide variety of tunes.

Cream Tees recording Rooted

The Cream Tees recording Rooted at the Hub, Barnard Castle. (Photo courtesy Paul Place.)

Sophy and Ian put together and arranged the tunes, and the band rehearsed the new composition at a residential workshop at Langdon Beck Youth Hostel in June. The group met again at The Hub in October to record their new piece of music, which the band then named Rooted – A Teesdale Suite.

Cream Tees recording Rooted

The Cream Tees recording Rooted at The Hub, Barnard Castle. (Photo courtesy Paul Place.)