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Eyes Front!

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 11th Jul 2010 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge

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Eyes Front!

Darlington Arts Centre

Singer and broadcaster Isla St Clair has collaborated with film-maker Patrick King in an exciting combination of live performance and archive footage about the effect of music in wartime, Eyes Front!

Isla performed a selection of songs, some instantly recognisable and others which were less familiar, ranging from Napoleonic times through to the popular hits that were born out of two World Wars. The quality of her voice - which combined clarity and purity - not only did justice to each of the songs but also made the ballads, in particular, hauntingly beautiful. Her renditions of ‘The Scottish Soldier’ and ‘When The Pipers Play’ were two notable highlights.

In addition to performing the songs, with only her guitar for accompaniment, Isla also told the fascinating stories behind them. Tales of heartache and separation lay behind many, others were used to make political points and some clung to the promise of peace in the future.

Patrick King used film clips to illustrate the importance of songs and music during wartime, and explain their effect upon the everyday lives of both soldiers and civilians. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the methods employed in filming warfare through the ages provided a multitude of fascinating insights.

  Eyes Front! is a deeply affecting show that evokes feelings of pride and patriotism. Indeed, it is impossible not to feel humbled by the sacrifices made by all those who have fought in defence of the freedom and liberty of our green and pleasant land.

Steve Burbridge.

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