On Saturday 16th January Dwr-y-felin Music Department were part of a special screening of the hit film ‘Pride’ in the Gwyn Hall Neath organised by the British Film Institute (BFI) for the ‘Britain on Film Special Screenings’.
The film is set in the summer of 1984 during the Miner’s Strike and at the same time there is the Gay pride march taking place. Mark Ashton along with friends from ‘Gays the word’ bookstore take note of the miners struggle and form Lesbians and Gays support the miners (LGSM), they raise a lot of money to support the miners lives and decide to focus on a specific community (Dulais valley and onllwyn). A friendship is struck between the miners in onllwyn and LGSM culminating in a return of support with 28 buses of miners turning up at the Gay pride march in 1985 to make big numbers. The National Union of Mineworkers later passes a vote to ensure equality of Lesbian and Gay people in trade union actions.
Before the screening of the film archive footage from 1950s Dulais valley was shown and one of these 15 minute reels was a big feature on Carnival and fete days organised by Dulais Valley miners in 1956. I was commissioned by the BFI to write music to be performed in time against this 15 minute reel. I used the footage as a mood setting for the overall feel of the piece which I called ‘These Colours Don’t Run’. I then took the background story of the film Pride with the solidarity theme: united we stand, divided we fall and linked this in with valley communities, the hiraeth and the sense of belonging. Musically there is inspiration drawn from valleys congregational singing and organ which you would find in the old Baptist / Methodist churches. There are sections in the piece where this becomes obvious. Linking in with the idea of marching for protest and the Pride Organisation Colours: RED (life) ORANGE (healing) YELLOW (sunlight) GREEN (nature) BLUE (harmony) PURPLE (spirit), I combined these principle thematic words and creating the lyrics around them and the marching for pride in self, rights and community. The sheer coincidence of the archive footage people marching in colours that are close to the Pride flag was pivotal to the timing of the melodies and musical themes. With use of lights set against the words and the music we then performed this live to the 300 people present in the audience (some of whom were young children in the footage used!).
It was a fanastic day not just for music making but also in terms of learning more about our own history in the Neath Vale.
Mr Luke Lockyer
Head of Music
Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School