Case Studies – KYOM23 Sound Identities

Organisation utilized: The Saving Grace Collective / Kirklees Year Of Music 2023
Period: August – December 2022


Kirklees Year of Music Team wanted to created some music to represent the identity of Kirklees. The Saving Grace Collective consulted and advised Kirklees of the best ways to present, deliver & complete a project of this nature for the Kirklees Year Of Music 2023.

We provided direction on process & implementation of the project aswell as & guidance on hoe to promote the opportunity, coupled with marketing & branding support to expand the reach of the project advising & managing the following aspects of the project.

  • Naming & Branding of Project.
  • Radio & Digital Press promotion work.
  • Creation of the application form.
  • Processing of applicant details & guidance shortlisting of potential composers.
  • Consultation with the selected composers.
  • Consultation with Kirklees music team regarding Licensing contracts.
  • Management of the Composers (budget, creative direction, logistics)
  • Recording of selected tracks
  • Mastering of Tracks
  • Graphic design (Creation of Ident cover artwork)
  • Evaluation of the Project

Our Aims

The music in Kirklees team wanted a broad spectrum of compositions from across kirklees representing as many genres & age groups as possible.


There are just under 450,000 people within all of the districts of kirklees. With a rough estimate of 20% of all households having some interest in music making or performance. That’s about 90,000 people with some sort of interest.

There were 7 slots for artists so full incorporation of every genre would be impossible. In order to create as much diversity as possible while maintain an acceptable standard we sought to find the balance between the Heritage & History of Kirklees aswell as the current community & contemporary sounds coming out of Kirkless.


Gender – (Male, Female, Non Binary)

All genders were welcome.

Genre – (All genes welcome)
However due to only having 7 places, the focus of the curation will be on genres & cultures that have contributed to the story of kirklees & rooted history or current narrative of Kirklees musical landscape.

Age – ( All ages welcome)
As long as an artist could physically perform the song anyone was welcome to apply, The aim of the curation process was to create a wide spread of age groups.

Skill level – ( Professional / Amateur )
As long at the artists team can write an original piece and perform it they would be considered. The curation processes goal was to have a balance of professional and amateur artists.

Economic background
The arts are predominately populated by people that come from stable economic means. I will endeavor to make sure the project has a balance of people from a range of economic backgrounds.

Nationality / Ethnicity
The aim was be to create a balanced blend of cultures from applicants and curated artists.

Disability – (Hearing, Sight, mobility etc)
The application process was open to all aslong as the applicant can compose and perform said song they will be considered.

Location – spread across Kirklees district
Through the curation process I will aimed to make sure there is as wide a spread of talent across kirklees as possible.

The Outcomes

Naomi Hill – From The Overflowing Well

Naomi is a Baritone and Euphonium player, composer and arranger from West Yorkshire and is currently a third year music student at The University of Huddersfield, studying both performance and composition. Growing up in The Salvation Army, Naomi has been surrounded by musical influences from a young age; it is from here where her passion for music is rooted and where her brass playing, and composing began. As a composer Naomi writes for various instrument combinations and ensembles, but particularly finds fulfilment in composing and arranging for brass, exploring the diverse tonal qualities and nuances of the instruments that she knows so well.

“The piece has been composed for a small brass ensemble and percussion in a hymn style that intends to evoke a sense of grandeur too. The title of the piece comes from the idea of music in Kirklees being deeply rooted in history, especially in regards to brass bands, but also overflowing with variety and creativity, which overflows abundantly into the diverse community”

Naomi Hill

Genre: Brassband

Location: Wakefield / Huddersfield

Composed by: Naomi Hill

Performed by: Postgraduate Musicians of Huddersfield University

Conducted, Recorded & Mixed by: Alexander Smith

How did you create this track? Who did you involve and what was the process?

“The ideas emerged for this piece through experimenting composing a melody with a hymn like quality on the piano before orchestrating it for a brass ensemble and percussion, creating motifs and countermelodies, and then placing these in different instruments within the texture and ensemble.”

The brass ensemble on the recording is made up entirely of students or graduates from The University of Huddersfield, who were willing to perform on the recording and be involved in the project. All of the recording and mixing was also carried out by a graduate of the university. So, this track is an accumulation of the current and past students of the University down to every aspect – the composition, performers, recording, mixing and even the recording location which was performed in Phipps Concert Hall at the University.

What inspired you to write this music?

The heritage of brass bands in Kirklees and the rich tonal qualities that make a brass band’s sound so distinctive and as a result the music they produce is so powerful.

What images or memories come into your head when you listen to the track?

“The piece is entitled ‘From The Overflowing Well’ and intends to evoke a sense of grandeur through the hymn-like timbre, which has a contemporary touch. The title of piece comes from the idea of music in Kirklees being deeply rooted in history, especially in regards to brass bands, but also overflowing with variety and creativity, which overflows abundantly into the diverse community. In my head the music is constantly building to the majestic climax in the middle section and the piece almost acts as an introductive musical statement, paving the way for the beginning of something. The journey to the big climax slowly builds and then returns back to a more reflective tone. The swells and yearning intervals within the music are a key feature with makes up the majority of the motifs and character of the piece.”  

Atholl Ransome – Ready To Go (Steeled)

Trained in classical & jazz, multi instrumentalist and skilled music producer Atholl Ransome is as equally at home creating a hybrid orchestral cinematic soundtrack on a state of the art studio DAW as he is improvising on saxophone or flute in front of a festival crowd.

After graduating Leeds College of Music, Atholl formed The Haggis Horns. They went on to release many albums on their own Haggis Records label.

He has a star studded CV and has performed with the likes of Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse, John Legend & The Roots, Adele, Duran Duran, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dimitri From Paris, and Jess Glynne. He has written, arranged & recorded horns on more than 500 commercially available tracks.

His long career in the music industry as a versatile session musician has given him the experience in working with horn sections to orchestras live and in studios worldwide.

He’s passionate about composition and works remotely in his home studio with clients crafting contemporary scores with depth and expression.

Genre: Steelpan Band

Location: Huddersfield / Leeds

Composed by: Atholl Ransome

Performed by: Silver Steel Sparrows

Recorded by: Dave Jordan.

Mixed by: Atholl Ransome.

How did you create this track? 

“When I was asked to write the track I immediately thought that I wanted to create something upbeat and positive that you could hum or whistle along to. 

Steel Drums make me think of sunshine and festival vibes and I wanted to explore the rhythms associated with the instrument. I started thinking about Calypso but then thought a that a dancehall flavour would sound more modern.

I work from my home studio using Logic (Apple) I had coincidentally bought a Steel Drum sample library about a month beforehand so having a realistic sound to play with was very helpful.

I started playing around on my keyboard and settled on a couple of nice chord progressions and then it all came together pretty quickly after that. I then let the idea go round in my head for a day before coming back to it and changing a few things that helped it flow better.”

Who did you involve and what was the process?

The writing was just done by myself (with some helpful feedback from Savvy from Saving Grace Collective). I knew who the piece was for (Foxyard Pan / Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows) and looked at the information on their website about how they teach the music to the young musicians in the band. 

I wrote out a lead sheet (a chart with the melody, harmony & rhythm) and created a rough demo so they could hear these. 

This was passed on to Victoria Jacquis (Foxyard Pan & Leeds Silver Sparrows leader) who has a special way of writing music out especially for Steel Drums to teach people to play if they don’t know how to read standard music notation using colour coding to help with the chords and notes. 

What inspired you to write this music?

“I really love the idea of a ‘Year of Music’ and think that it is going to be a fantastic thing for Kirklees in 2023 so I wanted to express that positivity and optimism in the mood of the tune.”

What images or memories come into your head when you listen to the track?

“When I turned up on the day of the recording I could hear my piece getting performed as I walked across the carpark to the hall where the band have their rehearsals and it was great hearing what had previously just been on my computer suddenly come alive with real musicians.

When I got into the hall and saw all the young people playing these wonderful instruments and enjoying the music that is what I think about when I hear the track. It was such a joyful and uplifting experience and the kids were really great. They were friendly and made me feel immediately welcome as well as being very professional during the recording.

That was the first time I met Victoria in person after chatting and messaging on the lead up to the recording and I was really impressed with how she led the band and encouraged the young musicians with her enthusiasm and energy. Savvy and his team did a great job of recording but not being intrusive.

I was lucky enough to play the tune through with them as I had brought my flute along just in case we could have a jam and Victoria even let me play some other tunes with them on a Steel Drum which was a fantastic experience!”

Shabnam Khan – Ooh La

Sunil Kayan – The magical, golden touch of his sur and taal has captured the true essence of Punjabi folk music, outstretching into the hearts of millions worldwide. His inspirations have come from both East and West, from legends such as Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to Timothy ‘Timbaland’ Mosley. This diversity has further deepened his hunger for production. If hearing is believing, and anything to go by, you can say his innovative nature has given birth to a fourth dimension in today’s growing Asian industry.

Shabnam Khan has been singing professionally since her school days, always enjoying music from several genres including ghazal, geet, Punjabi folk and Sufiaana Kalaam.  She sings in several languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Farsi, Swahili, Gujerati and English with her poet of choice being Mirza Ghalib and favourite composers R.D. Burman, Madam Mohan and M Ashraf.

Genre: Bhangra

Location: Huddersfield / Halifax

Composed by: Sunil Kayan

Performed by: Sunil Kayan & Shabnam Khan

Mixed by: Vibrations Studios

How did you create this track? Who did you involve and what was the process?

“Sunil Kalyan and I co-wrote this piece, drawing inspiration from the sounds we love and with which we grew up.”

What inspired you to write this music?

“The rich tapestry of music from the Indian sub-continent and the sounds of her diaspora throughout Kirklees.”

What images or memories come into your head when you listen to the track?

“The piece is high-energy and celebratory. We see beautifully-clad people, summer festivals and parades where these sounds can be shared.” 

Hebble – The Cropper Lads Ditty

Hebble are Singer-songwriter Samh, bodhran-player/singer Aidan and local cellist Helena. 

Hailing originally from Ireland and both sides of the Pennines, these experienced performers combine instruments with vocals to play foot-tapping traditional Irish songs and tunes, as well as originals by Samh inspired by local history and landscape. They also like to throw some Americana into the mix.‘Celtic tales of wonder and woe swept from over sea and hill into the Pennine valleys. The deep thud of skin drum, the soaring sweep of the cello, the light breeze of guitar and bouzouki’.

Genre: Folk

Location: Huddersfield / Roachdale

Composed by: Samuel Hodgson

Performed by: Hebble

Recorded & Mixed by: Vibrations Studios

How did you create this track? Who did you involve and what was the process?

“We have a series of songs inspired by or written about the local area. We took the chords and played around with a melody on the cello. It took us a while to get it exactly right, but eventually, the stars aligned and it all came together.”  

George King & Ruby Wood – Home

George King is one of the most versatile pianist/composers working today. He has won numerous international awards for his classical compositions including the Gunther Bialas prize in 2012 (Germany), the Barto Prize in 2010 (USA) and the Ibla Grand Prize in 2009 (Italy). He was also selected to study with jazz legends George Cables, Curtis Fuller and Dr. Billy Taylor as part of the Betty Carter scholarship programme in the USA.

Ruby Wood was born and bred in Kirklees has been the lead vocalist for the critically acclaimed Submotion Orchestra for the past 12 years. She is now embarking upon a solo career and has upcoming releases with Firstword Records scheduled for Spring 2023. Ruby has performed far and wide and at many prestigious venues and has also had her writing and voice featured on many different songs, including releases by Franky Wah, Linden Jay, Barney Artist, GLXY, Jasper Tygner and Roska to name but a few.

Genre: Jazz

Location: Wakefield / Huddersfield

Composed by: George King

Performed by: George King & Ruby Wood

Recorded & Mixed by: George King

George King
Ruby Wood

How did you create this track? Who did you involve and what was the process?

George – “Mainly improvised the piano in the studio then contacted Ruby as I though it’d work as a vocal.”

Ruby – “George sent me the piano track asked if I could create something like ‘to build a home’ by cinematic orchestra. I then wrote the lyrics abs melody and sent it back to him.”

What inspired you to write this music?

George – “The notion of home and a place to be at peace.”

Ruby -” I thought about the word home and what it meant to me. I’ve moved back to my home town of Huddersfield after ten years in London and i just wrote from the heart really about my love of Yorkshire and all of its beauty.”

What images or memories come into your head when you listen to the track?

George – “Childhood and spending time with my family in the hills walking.”

Ruby – “Stone buildings, green rolling hills, cobbled streets, flat caps, smiling faces.”

Jam Factory – The Spring Grove Shuffle

Founded by two friends with a passion for all things musical; JamFactory is a musical education hub with the goal of providing inspiration and a wide range of musical opportunities for people of all ages and experience. A team of talented and enthusiastic teachers is here to inspire you and bring out your passion for music.

Genre: Rock

Location: Holmfirth

Composed by: Josh Haslam

Performed by: Local primary schools students

Recorded & Mixed by: Jam Factory

How did you create this track? Who did you involve and what was the process?

“The first steps for writing this song were running a creative songwriting session in one of the local primary schools that we work in. The session aimed for the children to highlight things that reminded them of Kirklees, living in Huddersfield or surrounding areas, including places, activities, people, feelings etc. 

Once they had a big list of ideas they came up with lyrics and a simple tune (there were a lot of lyrics written and these provided inspiration for the music despite not all being used in the final song.) I then composed the rest of the piece around these ideas, with the help of some other young students at JamFactory who recorded their instruments on the track.”

What inspired you to write this music?

“What inspires me is getting young people excited about making music, improving accessibility to music, and helping them to discover ways of being creative and expressing themselves.”

What images or memories come into your head when you listen to the track?

“Based on the lyrics and ideas of the children, I tried to soundtrack the scene of a grungy working town full of lots of different people going about their business like ants. The idea being that despite our towns having their own little ecosystems within a bubble, we are only tiny specks within the universe and there is beauty to be found and celebrated despite the rough appearance of wherever we may live, and our daily routines.”

Xylosound – Moonshine Club

Andy Burton is musical director of Xylosound. He is now a partner of Satellite Arts based at Watershed Workshops, Slaithwaite. He plays in The Moonraker Ceilidh Band, Jack O’ Lantern and FEB. He writes songs and music and has recorded CDs with music broadcast on BBC 3 and 4. Performances and Workshops

Xylosound is a unique band of musicians based at the Watershed in Slaithwaite most of whom have additional learning needs. We meet on a Friday to rehearse or perform our music using large wooden Xylophones, hand percussion, fiddle flute and accordion. The group is led by Andy Burton, a local community musician and composer from Satellite Arts.

Genre: Dance

Location: The Watershed in Slaithwaite

Composed by: Andy Burton

Performed by: Xylosound

Recorded & Mixed by: Andy Burton

“I am a community musician. I created this track with Xylosound a band of musicians I direct, most of whom are adults with additional needs. The slow atmospheric beginning is played on flute by Jenny Blackwell supported by local fiddler Eddie Armitage. I play accordion and I taught the lively dance tune section to the Xylophone players Graham, Liz, Jane and Marilyn to play on large Xylophones. The rest of the band added percussion with Stephen on congas, Sara on blocks and Simon, Adam James and Danny on hand chimes and shakers. I made a backing track playing my accordion with volunteer musicians Eddie Armitage and Chris Deering who play mandolin and Bass. We used the backing to assist Xylosound in making a studio recording in November at The Watershed Creativity space in Slaithwaite.

The tune was inspired by the Slaithwaite Moonshine Festival when the streets are lit by window lanterns in people’s houses.

Images of happy people dancing in the street by moonlight.

My musical inspirations include Vaughan Williams, Roy Wood and Nitin Sawhney.”

All of the songs can be listen to via the Music in Kirklees website.

In Summary