YORKSHIRE anthem On Ilkla Moor Baht’At has now got the X Factor - thanks to the county’s own song king Eliot Kennedy and movie star Brian Blessed, writes digital editor Graham Walker.
Eliot, who is producer for artist development on The X Factor, has talked South Yorkshire-born movie superstar Brian into rapping along in his booming voice to Grimethorpe Colliery Band.
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Other big names, plus a chorus of hundreds of ordinary folk, are also being lined up to record with Sheffield’s own Grammy award winning producer Eliot.
Welcome to Yorkshire, the county’s official tourism agency, has commissioned him to produce the new version to help breathe fresh life into the county’s most famous song and introduce it to a younger, global audience.
It follows reports that younger generations increasingly no longer know the quirky song, traditionally sung in Yorkshire dialect, about a young man catching his death of cold while courting on Ilkley Moor without his hat.
A music video is also planned and the song will be out this summer, in time to attract London Olympics visitors up north.
Eliot, based at his Steelworks Studios in Sheffield, is a song-writing partner of Bryan Adams and Take That’s Gary Barlow. He’s had chart-topping hits with them plus the likes of The Spice Girls, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion and Donny Osmond.
His latest project Blush, a Spice Girls-style pan-Asian girl band, have just topped the dance chart in the USA and across Asia with their debut single, Undivided.
But Eliot, who wrote Everything Changes with Gary Barlow, has gone back to his roots to record On Ilkla Moor Baht’At. “Now, 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,’’ he laughed.
“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 kid.”
Flash Gordon film legend Brian, currently starring as the Pirate King in The Pirates! An Adventure with Scientists, said: “When I was offered the opportunity to record On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At with a twist, I thought, that’s me!
“The version of the song 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!”
News of the song was being announced today at Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y12 conference, the UK’s largest tourism event.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said: On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At has long been considered Yorkshire’s ‘national’ anthem and we just couldn’t resist giving it a modern twist.
“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’.”