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Festival shines the spotlight on female musicians; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.

BRASS is back for 2018 and this year sees a special focus on female performers, with the Durham Brass Festival line-up including a new all-female street band, a Swedish jazz trumpet internet sensation and a tribute to one of the most pioneering female musicians of the 21st Century.

The event, which takes place from Friday July 13 to Sunday July 22, celebrates the substantial contribution of women to all forms of brass music and marks 100 years since women won the right to vote.

The festival opens with Women and Brass at Gala Theatre on Friday July 13, a concert celebrating legendary band leader Ivy Benson, whose all-girl band became one of the most popular dance bands during the war years and beyond.

The tribute will be led by 74-year-old drummer Crissy Lee, an original band member, bringing her all-female big band which features many of the UK's leading female jazz artists.

"Ivy was definitely a pioneer for women in music and she was the first prominent female bandleader in the UK and Europe," she said.

"She was always encouraging us to be the best that we could be and it's great to be playing tribute to her during BRASS festival."

Swedish internet sensation Gunhild Carling - whose remarkable multi-instrument videos have been viewed millions of times on YouTube - will also join the concert with what promises to be an energetic and entertaining performance.

This year's Big Brass Bash events, taking place at six locations across the county, will also include two female bands ready to get audiences up on their feet and dancing.

Breakout Brass, a new all-female street band made up of musicians from across the UK, will be part of this year's line-up alongside New Orleans' band Shake Em Up, who formed in 2016 and have been delighting audiences in the US and across the world ever since.

The festival hopes to inspire more young women to take up brass instruments, building on the good progress made in recent years.

Since 2015, Durham Music Service has seen an 8% increase in girls playing brass instruments, and they also now make up the majority of small group brass lessons.

Festival artistic director Paul Gudgin said: "This year's festival provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate some of the leading female musicians from the classical, jazz and the brass band world.

"It is great that more young women throughout the county are now playing brass instruments and hopefully these performances will encourage even more people to get involved."

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 7, 2018
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