By Ed Sills
“Sometimes you have to move away to appreciate where you came from. And when you come back you find those roots are even deeper.” It’s this idea that inspired local composer James Oldrini to pen the song ‘Forever Belper’ whilst strolling through the town’s beautiful memorial gardens on a warm July afternoon. Many of us have a love/hate relationship with our home towns, but after a rather hectic few weeks in the States I can in good faith say that there is nowhere quite like Belper.James, 28, who describes himself as a “reformed rock musician”, now composes contemporary piano pieces. He has been playing since the age of four and released his debut single ‘Raggi d’ oro’ (Rays Of Gold) in February this year.“I love Belper. It’s a town that has a great history and it has regularly reinvented itself to meet the modern world. I think “Forever Belper” reflects that,” said Oldrini. So, in a collaboration that would make Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young envious, James put together a super group of local talent to produce an anthem for the town. The lyrics were provided by George Gunby, a local writer who many of you may know from his work co-ordinating this year’s successful Belper Arts Festival. They reflect the great history, geography and diversity of Belper and are sung by Chelsea-anne Richter. James Reader, of Front Row Films, created an original video to complement the music. It shows the day-to-day workings of the town and gives a real insight into Belper living.The song itself is a minimalist piano-led track with more than enough space to let Richter’s haunting vocals shine. Oldrini wanted to keep the composition simple, homely and catchy and he succeeds by producing an almost hymn like tune. Evoking the sentiment of David Byrne that you can ‘create a community with music’; James said ‘It’s important to me that we make the words, music and project information as accessible as possible. Everyone will be able to get a free download complete with lyrics to print. Anyone can perform it and I hope it will feature in events and venues across the town and beyond.’ If you would like to watch the video to the song, or download it, go to www.joldrini.com/forever-belper. His latest release ‘Footsteps’, which is part of a mini global project called ‘Walk With Me’, is released on 10 October 2013.