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Saturday, 17 August 2013 00:00

Brassed On: The Co-operative Funeralcare Band With Rab Noakes

by Chris Bartter

Assembly Rooms

The sound of brass has been associated with working-class areas since, well, forever.

The film Brassed Off took it to a wider audience and put it in the context of the devastation unleashed by Thatcher across Britain's coalfields. Successful as it was, it linked brass bands with old industry and dereliction.

The Co-op Funeralcare Band - hugely successful in recent years and the reigning Scottish and Scottish Open champions - is trying to change this.

Fresh from their success at Glasgow's Great MayDay Cabaret, they appeared at the Edinburgh fringe for the first time.

While they possess much musical talent themselves, the recent innovation of playing with Dave Anderson and Fraser Speirs on May Day and here with Rab Noakes could well serve to widen their audience.

The guests too, welcome the innovation. As Noakes says: "When I received the invitation it was irresistible. I've always liked brass band music and this band are first-class musicians."

The collaboration involved two songs solo, and two - including one of his own compositions, A Brighter Blue - with the band.

While the mix of light material from Ticket To Ride to I Will Follow You worked well for what seemed to be a traditional audience, the joint pieces were little gems and indicate a possible way forward for brass bands to develop some new material.

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