BRASS music fit for a President…

BRASS music fit for a President...

“I cannot get enough of these guys, they soothe the soul,” these were the warm and complimentary words recently spoke by US president Barack Obama about Chicago-based jazz group the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.

The much sought after nine-piece funk and jazz collective will be headlining the grandstand finale of BRASS: Durham International Festival entitled ‘The Big Bish Bash’ on Sunday 19 July in County Durham, North East England.

Hypnotic’s silky horn section feature eight sons of the legendary Phil Cohran; they cut their teeth as a street ensemble before recoding their first groundbreaking material over five years ago. The group are recognised as being one of the best live acts around – quite literally hypnotising their audiences with a mixture of smooth groove and mesmerising stage presence.

Superstar Support + the Gorrilaz: In addition to the admiration of Barack Obama other A-lister music industry admirers include: David Byrne, Q-Tip, Madlib, Jay-Z, Erykah Badu, and Jools Holland. And if anyone needed further proof Hypnotic have well and truly arrived in the global music big time it’s their inclusion as part of the new Gorillaz outfit – working with Damon Alburn. The band has recently shared the bill with Alburn’s indie legends at Hype Park during one of Blur’s high profile comeback gigs (find out more exclusive information about the Gorillaz current project further down the press release).

It’s a real triumph for BRASS: Durham International Festival that Hypnotic will be lending their energetic stamp to cement the event’s position as one of Europe’s up-and-coming music festivals (a festival they also graced last year). During their stay in Durham they will take time out to visit schools in the region and give one off master classes to young aspiring musicians eager to learn from one of the hottest properties on the global brass music scene at the moment.
BRASS will be another notch to add to the band’s impressive festival portfolio which currently includes Glastonbury, WOMAD and The Big Chill.

“Events like BRASS are very important as they keep us grounded as musicians; festivals are art orientated and allow us to reach out to our audience through the raw emotion of live performance, as we can make an impact artistically and put our message across,” said Saiph ‘Cid’ Graves, trombonist with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.

Cid talks about Hypnotic’s rollercoaster year as the world sits up to listen to the band’s sound, in the studio and especially the live shows. He says that the collective have been pretty much prepared for what’s happening as they’ve being making a steady graduation to another level of music since they broke away to develop the Hypnotic groove after performing with their father [Phil Cohran].

The star trombonist tells of how each band member has researched and studied the science behind music learning from the great influence of their father. They’ve delved into how sound is translated into pitch and tone; Cid’s personally been hitting the reference books studying the history of the trombone.

Cid adds: “Knowing how music works makes it easier for you to appreciate the universal sound of brass, and how you can implement its overwhelming principles of expression into your work.

“In life all things go full circle and music is no different, over the past 60 years people have been exposed to a large volume of music without really retaining any of its true meaning. I believe we have the chance nowadays to take responsibility as artists to fill that missing void and home in on our craft and help to provide an emotive soundtrack to people’s lives.”

Cid talks about the huge affection the band receives from fellow performers, musicians and film stars.

He says: “It feels good going up and meeting more and more famous people who’ve become our fans. We believe it’s to do with our musical ability to reach out from the purity of grass roots music and develop an independent sound; coupled with the appreciation of our values of art and entertainment.

“As a band Hypnotic has travelled the globe and all the time collecting influences and inspirations that in turn end up in our music and we just want people to hear the results.”

Finally, Cid updates us on the band’s situation with Damon Alburn’s new Gorillaz project. He says: “You know what Damon is like, he lets the music speak – when the music is ready it will be out there. We’ve recorded over 100 songs and the collection can only be best described as a massing catalogue of amazing music. We could go back into the studio and record 100 more tracks and those could be released… we just go where the music takes us.”

BRASS: Durham International Festival “…in a nutshell”: The festival has welcomed performers from all over the world including Africa, Austria, Canada, Ireland, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Iceland, Macedonia, Mexico, Nigeria and USA.

Over the past two weeks BRASS: Durham International Festival has presented a wide range of contemporary music aiming to push the boundaries of brass and provide people with its bigger picture gathered from around the globe. The music has ranged from afro-beat, ambient, big band, Cajun, Celtic folk, classical, funk, gypsy, hip hop, jazz, salsa, ska, soul and traditional brass.

“BRASS: Durham International Festival is first and foremost about showcasing quality music and being frontrunners in the pursuit of pushing the boundaries of brass music and getting recognition of its influence on the mainstream scene,” said Neil Hillier, strategic manager for Heritage and Culture services at Durham County Council.

Neil adds: “BRASS also has an aspiration to educate young people about brass music and what better role models to bring to the North East than the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. They represent musicians who not only respect the brass roots but also take those values and reinvent it in a creatively fresh way in their own inevitable style.”

BRASS finale – The Big Bish Bash: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble will be joined on the funky bill of The Big Bish Bash in Bishop Auckland by fellow American group Hot 8 who hail from New Orleans. The evening performance on Sunday 19 July commences at 6pm and is priced at a respectable £5… and is perfect for all the family. These tickets can be purchased from Bishop Auckland Town Hall box office or by calling 01388 602610 (venue address: Auckland Park, Bishop Auckland, DL14 7NR).

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Hot 8 promise to rip up the brass rule book and give BRASS: Durham International Festival a breathtaking send off for 2009 with their intoxicating mixture of jazz, hip-hop, funk and afrobeat. The Big Bish Bash kicks off with an afternoon of entertainment and drama from 3.30pm (further details can be found in the Notes to Editor section of this press release).

BRASS: Durham International Festival is being delivered and managed by Durham County Council with support from Northern Rock Foundation and Arts Council England, North East.

In addition to BRASS and Durham County Council, The Big Bish Bash has received support from Bishop Auckland Town Council and Town Centre Forum.

Everything you need to know about BRASS: Durham International Festival can be found at the global portal (including line-up, dates, times, ticket prices and amazing offers) – alternatively please call the festival ticket hotline 0191 332 4041.

The festival is taking place in venues across the county including Durham City, Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Peterlee.

Don’t miss out this July and play your part in BRASS: Durham International Festival (4-19 July)

Region: All
Start Date: 19/07/2009
End Date: 19/07/2009
Start Time: 18:00
Venue: Auckland Park and Castle
Venue Address: Auckland Park, Bishop Auckland
Press Tickets: Available
Sponsorship: Not Available
Press Tickets:
Name: Garry Smith
Phone: 07899910823