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The Pitmen Poets celebrate the songs, humour, and culture of North East England’s coal mining tradition, bringing together four of the region’s leading champions of it’s musical heritage. Ex-Lindisfarne singer and writer Billy Mitchell, songman from London’s west end musical Warhorse, Bob Fox, leading exponent of Tyneside song Benny Graham, and much-covered Folk Awards nominee songwriter Jez Lowe – individually and collectively the Pitmen Poets.
With archive footage and photographs, this is a journey through the centuries of a once-great industry, from the songs that saw it thrive and dominate, to those that saw it’s demise and the resulting aftermath
“The stark setting of New Hartley’s Memorial Hall was transformed into an emotional hothouse during the concert by the Pitmen Poets. The audience sang along, laughed and also shared moments of sadness as the combined talents of Billy Mitchell, Jez Lowe, Benny Graham and Bob Fox took them on an epic journey through the life and times of the Northumberland and Durham coalfields. What a great night!” Brian Coles – Rock of the North.
Billy spent much of the 70s touring Europe with much-missed folk-rockers Jack the Lad before becoming 50% of the hilarious Maxie & Mitch. When Lindisfarne knocked on his door in 1996, he fronted the band until they retired in 2003. Continuing to perform solo and with his band, he has more recently been touring The Lindisfarne Story with his pal Ray Laidlaw. www.billymitchell.co.uk
Bob has twice been nominated as Folk Singer of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Through his masterful interpretation of traditional and contemporary songs he’s become a favourite on the national and international folk circuit. Recently he’s played the role of Songman in The National Theatre’s West End production of Warhorse and the UK, Ireland and South Africa touring production. www.bobfoxmusic.com
From Easington Colliery in County Durham, Jez is a much-covered and much-travelled songwriter and singer, with around twenty albums to his name, as well as a long-running role as a principle writer for the award-winning BBC series, The Radio Ballads. His latest album, The Ballad Beyond, was released last year, to much acclaim. www.jezlowe.com
Benny served his musical apprenticeship in the folk clubs of The North East, developing a love of rural songs, and the music which grew from the heavy industries of coal, steel and ship building. Following years working in the UK and Europe as a solo performer, he’s recently been working as an actor & songwriter. www.bennygraham.com
Bring in 2017 with Sage Gateshead and celebrate both new and emerging artists alongside established big names. Keep your eye out for our very first New Year New Artists festival as well as stand out performances from Sophie Ellis-Bextor, LeAnn Rimes, Martha Wainwright, King Creosote and many...
Sage Gateshead showcases a strong line-up of folk, roots and blues artists from both sides of the Atlantic.