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Keeping traditions alive

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Bailiffgate Museum has started a new musical project in three Coquetdale schools.

The schools will work with James Tait, a well-known local musician, to develop some original music based on traditional stories, using the unique Coquetdale dialect.

The project is based on the legend of the Duergar, the malicious dwarves who live in the Simonside hills.

The three schools involved are Thropton Village First, Rothbury First and Harbottle First.

James has written a play script, telling a story about the Duergar, all in Northumbrian dialect verse.

He has been working with the children to produce the music and will hopefully involve local youngsters playing traditional instruments. Adults will also be involved for the choruses.

James said: “This is a very exciting and engaging project. The children in the Coquet Valley are very creative and enthusiastic and their music really is of exceptionally high quality.

“They are fascinated by the folklore and magical element, and absolutely love saying their lines using the local dialect. The ‘Duergar’ idea has thoroughly captured their imaginations and I can’t wait to see the final product.”

Jane Mann, museum volunteer, said: “We are so pleased to be working with James and these three schools.

“Northumberland has a rich musical heritage and there is something special about the music that is played in Coquetdale. It will be wonderful to help ensure that the next generation knows about it, enjoys it and hopefully learns to sing and play it. We also hope to help to preserve the unique local dialect.

“We hope children will learn more about their heritage.”