Pitmen poets celebrate mining heritage

Lib - The Pitmen Poets, left to right, Jez Lowe, Billy Mitchell, Bob Fox and Benny Graham 7 March 2013. Pic Paul Norris
Lib - The Pitmen Poets, left to right, Jez Lowe, Billy Mitchell, Bob Fox and Benny Graham 7 March 2013. Pic Paul Norris
13 February 2017 3:06PM

THANKS to North-East playwright Lee Hall, most people have heard of the Pitmen Painters – but how about the Pitmen Poets?

Well, don’t worry if you haven’t, as they’ve not been around quite so long.

The Pitmen Poets are made up of four of the region’s leading champions of the coalfields’ musical heritage.

Ex-Lindisfarne singer/songwriter Billy Mitchell; renowned singer and instrumentalist Bob Fox; leading exponent of Tyneside song Benny Graham and Durham songwriter Jez Lowe will be at the Queen’s Hall on Saturday.

Their show will celebrate the triumphs, tragedy, humour and hard times of the region’s mining communities.

Described as an evening of music, song and spoken word, it should prove educational as well as entertaining.

And the show will be accompanied by atmospheric archive photography.

Billy Mitchell fronted legendary North-East band Lindisfarne from 1996 to their retirement in 2003.

He continues to perform as a solo act and has recently been touring The Lindisfarne Story with Ray Laidlaw.

Twice nominated for Folk Singer of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Bob Fox has become a favourite on the national and international folk circuit.

He has recently played the role of Songman in the National Theatre’s West End Production of Warhorse and the UK, Ireland and South Africa touring production.

Originally from Easington Colliery, singer Jez Lowe has around 20 albums to his name. His latest, The Ballad Beyond was released last year.

He is also principal writer for the BBC series The Radio Ballads.

Benny Graham began his musical career in the folk clubs of the North-East, building a deep appreciation for the music surrounding the coal, steel and ship building industries.

After travelling the UK and Europe as a solo performer, Benny has recently been working as an actor and songwriter.

The Pitmen Poets will perform at the Queen’s Hall’s main theatre tomorrow at 8pm.

But if you miss Saturday’s performance, there’s another chance to catch up with them at The Sage, Gateshead on Sunday. See the venues’ website for details

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