Afternoon of songs and storytelling about the Great War
A UNIQUE play from an award-winning folk collective is heading to he town for Remembrance weekend.
Touchstones, on the Esplanade, Rochdale,is to host a unique event on the eve of the centenary of the Armistice of the First World War – and attendance comes with a free book on the subject.
From songs and stories about an oak tree that grows in memory of a local teenager, to tales of Rochdale soldiers being reunited in bizarre circumstances in no-man’s land, there will be no shortage of talking points when the music and storytelling collective, Harp and a Monkey, play in their home borough for the first time in years.
The trio, which includes an internationally respected First World War historian, author and broadcaster Martin Purdy – as well as fellow musicians Simon Jones and Andy Smith – have been performing their First World War show around the British Isles for the past three years.
However, they have never performed in Rochdale before – despite the fact that much of the material relates to men and women from their home area. The £10 entry price to the performance, on Saturday, November 10, includes a free copy of frontman Martin’s first co-authored book on the subject, Doing Our Bit, which used the diaries and letters of local people to tell the full story of the conflict.
Martin, who is originally from Middleton, said: “This is going to be a really special show, and one that is long overdue, as so much of the material is based on local people from Middleton, Rochdale and Heywood.
“It is by no means a ‘mud, blood and trenches’ show, but one that challenges a lot of stereotypes. Expect plenty of poignancy and laughter.”
The show is tied to the band’s critically acclaimed third album ‘War Stories’, and includes field recordings and interviews with veterans and their families, new songs and re-workings of traditional and contemporaneous songs.
●●Folk band Harp and a Monkey