Ey up! It’s Yorkshire Day and Sheffield song king Eliot Kennedy is celebrating with a 21st century makeover for the county’s traditional anthem, On Ilkla Moor Baht ’at, writes Graham Walker.
He’s got Mexborough movie legend Brian Blessed to rap on it with his trademark booming voice.
Other performing pals include Doncaster opera superstar Lesley Garrett, the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Middlesbrough’s Fame Academy star Alistair Griffin, X Factor singer Jonjo Kerr and his former Yorkshire Regiment, plus the entire Yorkshire Rock Up and Sing choir.
Eliot, who has written for and recorded some of the world’s biggest acts, including Bryan Adams, The Spice Girls and Take That, is most proud of his latest recording star - young son, Jack, aged 11, whose solo starts the charity song.
Profits from the track, which can be downloaded from iTunes and other sites, will go to the Heroes’ Children Fund, which supports children of fallen heroes, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the Yorkshire Regiment’s charity.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch the official music video and there’s a link below to buy and download the charity song from iTunes.
Welcome to Yorkshire, the county’s official tourism agency, commissioned it, supported by Bradford Council and Harrogate agency Cause UK, after a report that many young people no longer know the quirky tune - about a young man catching his death of cold while courting on Ilkley Moor without his hat.
Flash Gordon film star Brian told the Star: “When I was offered the opportunity to record on Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At with a twist, I thought, that’s me!
“This version is a larger than life take on a traditional classic and I am singing for Yorkshire, loud and proud. My vocal cords are renowned across the nation and I hope Yorkshire and the rest of the world will sit up and take notice of this valuable piece of Yorkshire heritage. When you have pride in your roots, there’s nothing more fun and joyous than singing about it. Enjoy! And don’t forget your hats!”
Eliot, who produced, arranged and mixed the track at The Foundry at The Steelworks Studios in Sheffield, with James Jayawardena, last year toured the Commonwealth to produce The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee song, Sing, with best pal Gary Barlow.
He joked: “Finally, I’ve done a project that puts my work with Gary in the shade - I’ve got Brian Blessed to rap to On Ilkla Moor Baht ’at!”
“There’s something cheerful, hearty and wilful about the song that captures the Yorkshire spirit. My hope is I’ve added a bit of swagger, but still paid homage to the traditional version. It’s a loving take on the song and one I hope brings it alive to new generations of Yorkshire kids.”
He said of son Jack’s contribution: “I wanted a young solo voice, before the celebrity names and the big choir comes in. Jack was perfect. He sounds brill. I’m so proud.
“It’s a beautiful, gorgeous song, you can’t help but sing along to it.
“It’s been in my head all the time since we started this project. I think this song will last for decades. It’s going to stand the test of time. I’m putting as much love and energy into this as any other record I do.”
The song was released today, on Yorkshire Day, to help showcase the county worldwide, said Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.
Hew added: “This is a great chance for us all to breathe new life into Yorkshire’s very own national anthem. It’s a fun, collaborative mix with plenty of twists on the original. We hope it will capture the hearts of not only everyone in Yorkshire but also the UK and worldwide.
“Like everything we do, the song is a chance to shout about what’s great about Yorkshire but it’s not just about Yorkshire traditions or nodding our caps to our cultural heritage, it’s also a chance to show off Yorkshire’s vibrant creative scene with a re-working of the song with ‘added swagger’.”
It followed a campaign to raise awareness of the song by teacher and Otley Brass Band musical director, Gordon Eddison, who discovered only one in 10 youngsters had ever heard of it.
Gordon said: “We are pleased the campaign has developed so much to keep the song alive. It throws the spotlight onto Yorkshire’s talent as well as raising money for charity.”
The song has ben previously recorded by the likes of Spike Milligan, in an episode of The Goon Show, George Formby, Chumbawamba, Ted Heath, Bill Oddie, Ronnie Hilton and The Yorkshire Regiment.
Welcome to Yorkshire urged people to show their support on Twitter @WELCOME2YORKS celebrating the revamped song and Yorkshire Day using the hashtag #yorkshireanthem
BUY THE CHARITY SONG HERE: Google the song to download and it buy on various web sites. To buy On Ilkla Moor Baht ’at from iTunes - CLICK HERE.
* Sheffield University is celebrating the Yorkshire dialect with an interactive exhibition at its Western Bank Library, coinciding with Yorkshire Day today.
Visitors can listen to dialect extracts using their smart phone or through portable audio players available in the exhibition space.
The exhibition runs until Saturday, August 17. It is open from 9am to 7pm, Monday to Thursday, from 10am to 7pm on Fridays and from noon to 6pm on Saturdays.