When I think about being in the UK, I often think about music. Music that was part of my life growing up in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and music that has reminded me of it when I’m away.
One of my favorite pieces of music that came out of the UK though, and one that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, is not a British piece. It is, however, played by an English band, and not one of the so-called modern bands’ either, but instead a good old-fashioned English brass band – the Grimethorpe Colliery Band.
The Grimethorpe Colliery Band is almost 100 years old. It was started in 1917 as a way to give miners in the town of Grimethorpe something relaxing to do after a long and dangerous day down the pit.
Almost a century later, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band is the UK’s most famous brass band, becoming world-famous after the band played the soundtrack for the British movie ‘Brassed Off‘.
Of course, Brassed Off itself is one of the best British movies ever made (who can forget the incredible Pete Postlethwaite’s performance, or the tragedy of the British miners at the hands of Margaret Thatcher?), but the piece of music that is the most famous part of the film is a piece by Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo — Concierto de Aranjuez.
Because of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band though, the Concierto de Aranjuez always reminds me of Yorkshire — the place where I’m from. And it is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever played by a brass band, or any other band for that matter. Anywhere.
By the way, I’m putting up two versions of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band playing the Concierto de Aranjuez — the first is the version from Brassed Off. The second is a lovely little video made up of photos honoring the British miners and commemorating the hell they went through at the hands of Margaret Thatcher and her government.
As the grand-daughter of a British miner, I can honestly say hell is too good a place for Margaret Thatcher.
For more on the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, don’t miss watching their YouTube channel.