The days of northern pit life may be dead and gone but one Huddersfield man is helping to keep part of its legacy alive by transporting its musical tradition to the capital, with an up-to-date twist.

Although having more in common with cockney slang and gypsy vibes than coal and strikes, Luke Christie’s nine strong
Hackney Colliery Band is a unique take on a time honoured tradition that, like his forbears, represents the vibrant and diverse community in which they live.

Describing themselves as ‘mining nuggets of funk, hip-hop and rock from the musical coalface and throwing in a few chunks of Balkan brass, ska and contemporary jazz’, the close-knit nine piece have re-ignited the popularity of marching bands for generations young and old.

So much so that you could say they have become a cultural icon for their own era, after representing modern day Britain in the closing ceremony of London 2012 Olympics.

It is just one of the many unexpected performances for former Almondbury Dark Lane resident, Luke, who since becoming the band’s drummer in 2008 has shared the stage with Amy
Winehouse and collaborated with Jamie Cullum and Jarvis Cocker, despite thinking the idea would never take off.

Luke, who now lives in Leyton and will return to his roots when he plays at Holmfirth Picturedrome on Sunday, said: “When we formed I remember thinking ‘there’s no way that this will take off’ because there are nine of us, we have such diverse interests and we were playing quite complex pieces.

“But people really warmed to what we do, which I think is because we mesh and play what can be sometimes traditional sounds in a way that’s vibrant and fresh and have played with around 100 different musicians since we formed.

“We’ve been lucky in that we appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds-in the same day we’ve played to 18-year-olds in a sweaty venue and people who are 75 and over at a literary

“Just as long as what we do keeps our audiences dancing, we’re happy-and being able to create music with a big group of my friends is fantastic.”

Not just born into a very musical family, his role in the Hackney Colliery Band has allowed him to continue a family legacy.

He said: “My granddad played the sousaphone in brass bands in the Colne Valley area and I’m glad to carry on the tradition.

“We’re obviously a bit more heavy and our aim is to make everyone party but we’ve got that classical brass band complexity-and of course, that same close-knit community feel.”

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