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23 January 2021 @18:27
First published: Tuesday 06 Oct 2020
With the kind support of Creative Darlington, Tracks Darlington is pleased to present HARK!: an
online evening of music and imagery inspired by haunting contemporary folk tales and poetry
through the ages.
HARK! is a series of events presenting music inspired by writing. The inaugural HARK! took place
November 2019. Held in Darlington’s beautiful Crown Street Library, an enthralled audience packed
out our unique venue to see memorable performances from The Shining Levels, Storm Chorus and
Ed Woods, with relevant readings from local authors Bob Fisher and Tracey Iceton.
Although plans for 2020 HARK! were derailed by the pandemic, we’re pleased to able to bring you a
suitably haunting multimedia extravaganza to see in the Autumn.
HARK! curator and host, local writer Francoise Harvey, says, ‘The inaugural HARK! was the highlight
of last year for me, showcasing incredible storytelling, spine-tingling music and of course bringing an
appreciative crowd to our wonderful Crown Street library. I’m thrilled to be working with Tracks to
bring a special, online version to an even wider audience, this time with specially filmed imagery to
accompany the music. I’m pleased, too, to be running an online writing workshop ahead of this
event, in which we’ll be using music to inspire words, to bring the whole concept full circle.
Creativity inspires creativity – there’s a rhythm to great writing and stories that inspires memorable
music. I have a foot each in the worlds of music and literature - so being able to bring the two
together in the form of HARK!, which showcases music that’s based on stories and poetry, is very
Plans are in place for HARK!’s return to Crown Street Library in 2021.
HARK! Online features specially commissioned performances from:
- STICK IN THE WHEEL
Presenting the wonderfully emotive and experimental song Robot, inspired by the story ‘Robot’ from
Tom Cox’s book Help the Witch – and more.
Stick In The Wheel’s work is rooted in their traditional music, informed by the modern electronic
music that grew out of their East London heritage. Nicola Kearey and Ian Carter use centuries-old
work-songs that speak to present-day issues of class - an inherently political act - as well as historical
material from Saxon poetry to Medieval carols. Their third studio album, Hold Fast, is a journey of
hope and resistance, musically and lyrically layered and deep with meaning. Known for their label
From Here Records’ – the label behind the concept album Help The Witch – they work with artists
such as Richard Dawson, C Joynes, and Nancy Kerr on their English Folk Field Recordings series, SITW
continue to push forward the contemporary tradition of roots music, whilst maintaining and
celebrating music from our collective histories - conjuring the past to point toward the future.
- JACK SHARP
Jack Sharp contributed haunted folk song ‘The Vanished House’ to Help the Witch. He is the singer
and guitarist of psych folk band Wolf People – but left to his own devices, he plays ‘solo weirdo
English folk stuff in the Nic Jones/Martin Carthy mould’, as well as singing in folk trio Marisa, Jack &
Davy. Adept at bringing to life the hauntings of history, he released his first solo album Good Times
Older earlier this year, described as being ‘imbibed with a very tangible sense of place, memory and
Both groups appear on the concept album Help the Witch ‘the best folk horror album of 2020’, and
the companion album to Tom Cox’s book of short stories by the same name.
- KATHERINE BETTERIDGE
A multimedia artist, Katherine Betteridge brings us three atmospheric and intense videos, with
music and imagery inspired by and incorporating poetry from Rainer Maria Rilke, Mark Nepo and
Mary Elizabeth Coleridge. Katherine studied music at Bangor University at Bachelors, Masters and
PhD levels, specialising in performance at Masters level and acoustic composition at PhD level
(completed in May 2020). The title of her doctorate portfolio of compositions was “Nature and
Magic” and it drew on inspiration from nature and magical beliefs from cultures around the world.
As of today she is pursuing her interest in visual arts, namely videography and photography, and
how this can intertwine with her music.
Plus readings from author TOM COX, the writer behind the haunting contemporary folk tale
collection Help the Witch, and disabled writer, activist and spoken word artist – Darlington’s own
PLUS! FREE ONLINE WRITING WORKSHOP, 2pm, 11 October
An exclusive workshop for HARK!, local Darlington writer FRANCOISE HARVEY will lead you in using
music and lyrics by local musicians as prompts to inspire your writing, whether you prefer to write
poetry or prose. Suitable for writers of all levels. Please register your interest in advance by emailing
All beaming directly into your home via the magic of the internet, and hosted from the majestic
Crown Street Library.
We advise that this is suitable for ages 13+ | Live stream starts 7.30pm on Facebook and YouTube
– www.facebook.com/tracksdarlington | Free to view – though a donation link will be available.
For further information please call:
Sarah Wilson: 07786 065722
Rob Irish: 07513 054516
Francoise Harvey: 07905 515699