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Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils rehearse for Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School pupils perform at Musicport 2009

Headlands School Performance at Musicport 2009


Headlands School Rehearsal


Thirty-five aspiring young musicians from Headlands Secondary School in Bridlington performed live on stage at this year's Musicport with the world music band The Balkanatics, thanks to a collaboration between Music4U - the Humber Region Action Zone - and Musicport.

This project follows on from the successful similar initiative last year where the outstanding world music band from Niger, Etran Finatawa, visited the school to develop the students Afro-Rock techniques.

Prior to stepping in to the limelight in front of the Musicport audience this year at the Bridlington Spa, the students, mostly studying GCSE and 'A' level music, had the opportunity to work closely with The Balkanatics, a brass band who play wild, rhythmically driving music from the Balkan region and Anatolia. Born out of London's cosmopolitan music scene, the group combines the cream of the UK with top Balkan expatriate musicians.

The Balkanatics get their main inspiration from the Brass bands that can be found in various parts of the Balkan region. Apart from developing their own compositions and band 'sound' they are constantly studying the rich traditions from the region, developing a large repertoire of the traditional music and traditional ways of performing it.

During the three-day intensive workshop they worked with the young people to prepare three songs to perform live on stage with them in one of the prime music spots of the weekend. Music teacher at Headlands, Zoe Backhouse said they had a fantastic week working with The Balkanatics. The young people had really risen to the occasion and she had been really impressed with the way her students engaged with the project. Apart from giving the students the fantastic opportunity to perform in front of 1000s of people in their home-town she felt that workshops like these really did help improve the musicianship of her students.

Zoe added: "At first, the music sounded far from what we knew and were used to, using different and very difficult time signatures, but it had an amazing energy which hooked us from the start. Within a day, the students had learned the three songs in a rough format, mastering the timing and we then spent more time perfecting the songs and the Balkan style of playing. The singers also coped really well singing in a completely new language. Students and staff at Headlands were surprised to hear the performance on Friday afternoon - they were shocked at the standard of performance.

The performance at Musicport was top-class and the audience applauded loudly in recognition of the young peoples' achievement. Pete Watson from The Balkanatics said it had been a genuine pleasure to work with this group of students who were enthusiastic, committed and with more than enough talent necessary. He said: "They worked with us in a co-operative and focused way and delivered an outstanding performance. We felt proud of them. The backing of efficient administration, supportive and friendly school staff, community musician Donna Smith and the Musicport team were also essential for the success of the project.

Acting Headteacher at Headland School, Scott Ratheram, was really delighted that his school had been given the opportunity to be involved in this project. He commented: "The young people really enjoyed the performance opportunity. Following the Ofsted judgement to remove the school from Special Measures, this event, with so much talent on display, marks the end of a very positive few weeks at Headlands School. I am very proud of what has been a huge team effort at Headlands. To go from Special Measures straight to a satisfactory judgment, in what is a relatively short amount of time, is a real achievement for the whole school.

"The opportunity to work with The Balkanatics gives our students the chance to not only learn more about music from this region but to experience and learn more about different cultures. Partnership working between organisations like Music4U and Musicport really helps students develop a better understanding of the common values we share with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Music remains a brilliant vehicle for cutting through barriers and also highlights a real area of strength within our school.

Music4U, the Humber Region Action Zone, who initiated and co-ordinated this project, said it had been an overwhelming success. The Zone's Deputy Director, Samantha Sumerfield, who followed the journey of the students and musicians over the week said that the young people had really risen to the occasion and had learnt three very complicated songs in a very short space of time. She said that there was one student who had even learnt to play the accordion for the first time as part of this project and taken to the instrument like a duck to water, which had been very rewarding to see. She commented: "Innovative world music projects like these provide the unique chance for some of the regions aspiring young musicians to be part of an internationally recognized world music festival and to learn first hand skills from these fantastic musicians. We intend to gather our own knowledge and skills during this project and to pass it on to other young people in our Zone in future music projects.

Musicport welcomed this continuing collaboration, Jim McLaughlin, Musicport Festival Director said: "Projects of this nature are the perfect way to engage with young people in East Yorkshire. We are confident the experience of learning and performing with The Balkanatics as well as seeing some of the other world class acts at the festival will inspire all those involved. As an organisation our remit has always been to engage young people in our work at our events and give them opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to them.

Comments from Headlands music students and teacher:

"The students were an absolute credit to the school, with their manner and professionalism on stage, their fantastic performance which was full of energy. The reaction to our performance was great, with festivalgoers coming up to the students and staff afterwards, commenting on how much they had enjoyed the performance. One person even said that it was the best performance of the festival so far. Students and staff have had an amazing week, one that will be remembered for quite a while! Bring on next year!" Zoe Backhouse, Music Teacher

"It was really fun to learn a new instrument - I played the accordion for the first time. It was easier than I thought it was going to be and I am looking forward to getting one for Christmas. I found it really enthralling to be on the big stage at the Spa" Luke, aged15

"It was a very interesting experience to look at music from the Balkan regions which I have never played before and use the different time signatures" Josh, aged 15

"It was exhilarating to perform at Musicport. The people in The Balkanatics were really friendly. I had such fun at the festival - I even learned to juggle!" Holly, aged 15

"I enjoyed Musicport, and especially how it captured the essence of different cultures. Listening to the different styles of world music opened my eyes to understanding the music of people all around the world. It was really great performing in a different style" Jasper, aged 14

"I really enjoyed my time at Musicport, from performing on stage with The Balkanatics, to dancing with the Urban Gypsies and watching other acts perform" Oliver, aged 14


"learnt all about new time signatures and metres and playing in a new style. I really enjoyed working with a professional band and learning new things"Kim, aged 14

"It was really good how to learn and play in a different style to what we are used to. I didn't know what to expect in the beginning but I really enjoyed working with The Balkanatics and performing at The Spa"Nanci, aged 15

Below are some audio clips of the young people from Headlands Schools performing with The Balkanatics at Musicport 2009