Dave Whiffin from Tynemouth and Les Watts from Blaydon have written a piece of music entitled Northern Skies which they say together with drone footage of the area by Graeme Hare provides a fantastic endorsement of the area.
The idea came early in the lockdown stage when the pair decided to create a piece of music together in their respective homes to invoke a sense of space and freedom despite being confined in their immediate surroundings.
“The idea of using the countryside and coastline in the accompanying video came about as an alternative to bands and musicians using Zoom type scenes in little boxes showing them at home playing their instruments,” said Dave.
“It was like watching people in prison and we wanted to have the opposite effect by showing off the beautiful area where we live with its wide-open spaces and fresh, clean air.”
Indeed, the video captures the region beautifully from Bamburgh Castle in the north to Tynemouth and Seaton Sluice in the south and across to the Roman Wall and Kielder in the west, featuring everything from wild landscapes to more urban settings
Les said his particularly favourite scene shows the famous beach huts at Blyth.
“The colours are vibrant and show how something as simple as a row of huts can symbolise an area in a positive way,” he said.
Both musicians have an impressive musical pedigree.
Dave started playing at the age of 16 and has toured with local hero Hilton Valentine in his band, Animals 2. He currently plays with the Marty Craggs Band and together with Les in the Watts & Whiffin Big Band. Les, leads local band Discography, has a degree in jazz, worked in London’s West End as a musical director touring Europe with the Blues Brothers show and worked with the Brendan Healy Band.
Northern Skies also features ex Prefab Sprout drummer, Steve Dolder, bass player John Pope and saxophonist Jordan Alfonso.
It can be viewed here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DIbIFQ2L9k