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Songs of Place

Research Project

Huddersfield and Halifax

songs, videos, poems, photos, maps, and sketches

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"I know it is not fashionable to look for beauty and enjoyment at home; I wish it were."

George Searle Phillips (1848)


Click on the video above for:

'Naked Landscape'

'Naked Landscape' uses the 'body writing' technique of Björk. This involves you comparing your body to features of the land. The descriptive words in the song wuthering, furrying, looming, eddying, hankering etc. were taken from local literature describing the West Yorkshire moors. The arrangement, structure and instrumentation is representative of the wild winds, undulating ground, pelting rain, and hardy flora and fauna indicative of the Pennine moorland.


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'Gateway to Saddleworth' & 'Edith Calder'

'Gateway to Saddleworth' is an attempt to capture the local voice of people living in Marsden at the time of the building of Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The technique of centring the voice of local people was used by Toby Martin and Darkstar in their albums Songs from Northam Avenue and Foam Island. Gateway to Saddleworth references stories taken from newspaper articles, books, poems, and a personal interview with a local historian.  


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'Piece by Piece'

'Piece by Piece' describes the architecture, goings on, functions and legends of Halifax Piece Hall. It imagines the building as a woman, an idea taken from Pulps’ ‘Sheffield: Sex City’. ‘Piece by Piece’ includes references to cloth types, the life of Anne Lister, & and an old children’s playground song. The end poem is an adaptation of the Piece Hall’s opening song of 1779. The song is pieced together from individually written segments of song.


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'Mother's Bones', 'Build Us a Room', 'Beacon Hill', 'On the Stanedge Moors', 'Lazy Spring', & 'Jamie the Ratcatcher'

'WS01: Mother's Bones' is a combination of my personal history with churchgoing as a child and personal reflections of the local area. Using personal history to create a fictional account of events through songwriting is a technique used by Sufjan Stevens in his place-based albums Michigan and Illinois. Other songs in this ‘Worship Song’ series include the worship of other spiritual practices, community, nature, architecture, education, and public houses. All significant subjects when considering the Huddersfield / Halifax region. The song was recorded at St. John's Church.