Sheffield Makes Music

A very local collaboration leads to national possibilities

2016’s BBC Music day saw Unite the Union (Formerly City of Sheffield) Brass Band taken once again to their city’s hearts in a performance with much-loved - and particularly unique- Sheffield band The Everly Pregnant Brothers, with the help of Brass Bands England. As the headliners of an imaginative and eclectic day of some 22 acts in as many different locations across the city, the performance in Sheffield’s Peace Gardens caused a social media storm as fans old and new of both groups posted the short concert online. The Everly Pregnant Brothers, a charismatic mix of ukuleles, string bass, drummer and front man are “a bunch of disparate chaps [with] three things in common, the love of beer, ukuleles and having a laugh.” They have carved a creative niche by taking well-known classic pop songs and “tampering” with the lyrics to produce musical art that celebrates Sheffield and takes a humorous squint at life. They are cherished by locals and enjoyed far further afield. Note: Songs do come with a “parental advisory” notice – not for the faint-hearted or easily offended. The collaboration came about when, as part of BBC Music Day, our very own Rachel Veitch-Straw was approached by the Sheffield Makes Music team (led by the University of Sheffield) to work on a shared performance between the Brothers and Unite the Union Brass Band. The connection was made as part of an earlier Brass Bands England project, Brass With Beethoven, some weeks before. Unite’s Composer and Arranger in Residence, Mike Kilmartin, rose to the challenge, taking the Brothers’ versions of popular tunes and creating backing arrangements for the band which skilfully interweave the brass band sounds with the Everly Pregnant Brothers’ driving Ukelele chords. The Sheffielders adored the collaboration, with the performance shared immediately on YouTube, ricocheting around Facebook and Twitter. Both the Everly Pregnant Brothers and Unite the Union Brass Band are pleased to have reached new audiences and exciting plans are now being made for further collaborations within Sheffield’s melting pot of music. The BBE team are constantly strengthening links between brass bands and new performance opportunities and can help your band achieve their dreams – get in touch to arrange a chat! Rachel Veitch-Straw Liaison Officer Yorkshire and Humberside, North West and North Darren Lea Liaison Officer Midlands and West of England Vicky Lenton Liaison Officer East Anglia, London and South East Sheffield Makes Music was part of BBC Music Day and was supported by Year of Making Sheffield and Sheffield BID