Echoes of the North

A new film, made from more than a hundred fragments of archive film was made available to watch online with the help of support from The Space.

Yorkshire Silent Film Festival released Echoes of the North; Four Chapters in Time for a limited period. The silent film included an original brass score and transported viewers back to Northern England a century ago.

Echoes of the North was created in partnership with Yorkshire Film ArchiveNorth West Film Archive, North East Film Archive, and London’s Archive Film Agency, and edited by Andy Burns. Premiering in Morecambe in November 2023, it took 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.

Recording a soundtrack for silent film

The sixty minute film was accompanied by a new score – the first ever all-brass soundtrack for a silent film – composed by acclaimed composer and musician Neil Brand. Brand brought 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 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.”

Echoes of the North was available to watch online for free from 20th December 2022, 5pm until March 2023.

A trailer can still be watched.