The Musicians, Artists, and Writers from Yorkshire

Yorkshire has a strong arts history dating back thousands of years. Its rich history has resulted in the county having its own brand of traditional music and traditional arts which is show cased each year with traditional festivals. One of the most famous festivals is the Swaledale Festival which is held each year in the three most northerly dales, Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale. For two weeks at the end of May and beginning of June, there are musical performances that cover a wide spectrum. There are classical performers, jazz artists, folk musicians, brass bands and many more.

Folk singer Kate Rusby

The concerts take place in local churches and halls, and as well as there being music there are also art exhibitions, theatrical performances, dances and even guided walks. As well as there being many performers the vast majority are from Yorkshire and this is a showcase of the creative arts in the county. Yorkshire has its own brand of musical dance which is known as the Long Sword Dance. This dance is performed by a lot of villages and involves dancing a large rigid sword. One of the most famous folk songs is “On Ilkla Moor Baht at” which is now used as a Yorkshire anthem.

There are many Yorkshire folk performers today including The Waterstones who hail from Hull, Kate Rusby comes from Barnsley, and Julie Matthews who is from Sheffield. There are thirty annual folk festivals in the county where many of the county’s folk singers perform.

Traditional musical is also well represented with its brass bands. One of the most successful bands is the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band which was formed in 1881. The band is from West Yorkshire and has held many of the top awards that are available in this musical genre. They even performed on top of the pops in 1977 with their single “the floral dance” which reached no 2 in the UK charts.

Many modern-day rock performers have also come from Yorkshire. Pulp, The Human League and Def Leppard all come from Sheffield. Def Lappard were formed in 1977 and have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. They are most probably more popular in The States than they are in Britain. The Human League formed in 1977 reached the UK charts no 1 slot in 1981 with “Don’t You Want Me” which came off the album “Dare”. Further hits followed for the group and have had eight singles in the UKs top 10.

Jarvis Cocker with Deborah Bone MBE

Pulp led by front man Jarvis Cocker have had two massive hits about growing up in Sheffield. “Common People” concentrated on working class northern life. “Disco 2000” was the story about Cocker growing up with childhood friend Deborah Bone, who later went on to be awarded the MBE in 2014 for her services to mental health, two days before her she died.

The Kaiser Chiefs come from Leeds and they are well known for the two big hits that they had in the early 2000’s. “Ruby” and “I Predict a Riot” were both rock anthems during their time and laid the foundation for lead singer to take on the celebrity status that he hauls today. The Arctic Monkeys also come from Leeds and they are famous for their album “Whatever They Say I’m Not” which is the fastest selling debut album in British music history. It was ranked by the magazine Rolling Stone as the 30th greatest album ever recorded, and the band are still playing today. In 2017 they headlined the Glastonbury Festival.

Many musicians and groups have come out of Yorkshire. The success of the music scene helps to create an environment where more musicians are created, and this has attracted many people into the county to appreciate their work.