Over the coming months we'll be updating this page with details of the stops along the Altrincham line; information about the groups creating the tracks for each stop, interesting facts, media and snippets of information as the project progresses. Be sure to check back on Monday 17 July, when we will be uploading recordings of each full track.
A fun and friendly Acapella choir of men and women from the Altrincham area led by Simply Singing. Simply Singing believe that singing raises self-esteem, has incredible health benefits and brings communities together. Simply Voices sing a variety of popular music, world music and folk music. Everyone welcome!
About the track
Simply Voices are a community choir who meet each week at Altrincham Preparatory School and who perform often across the Greater Manchester area. We created a soundscape for the tram with group members suggested lots of different elements for inclusion. The group were keen to create the sense of journeying to Altrincham where the tram line terminates. We included the sounds of people’s footsteps getting on and off the tram, the machine where passes are validated, someone missing the tram and exclaiming “damn” as the doors shut, people talking, children crying, a person sneezing, the horn blowing, someone giggling when the train arrives at Altrincham. One of the directors Alice had actually travelled on the Altrincham to Manchester tram on her wedding day in full bridal attire and the Simply Voices choir had sung to her on the tram. It felt important to reference this story in our song so the group decided we were taking a ride with an Altrincham bride and that we were having a jam on the singalong tram! We had some rich discussions about Altrincham’s market and its history. Thomas de Quincy apparently walked from Manchester Grammar all the way to Chester via Altrincham, observing "The first town that I reached was Altrincham, colloquially called Awtrigen. I found myself in the centre of the market place... fruits and flowers... bonny young women tripping up and down in coquettish bonnets.” We decided he might have been better off travelling by horse! The market has changed significantly recently and has really brought the town back to life with its many eateries and bars. It’s customary when you disembark from the tram to meet your mates or be picked up or catch a taxi rom Altrincham’s distinctive train station clock so we included this in the song too. The group wanted to write a song in a swing style as this is a type of music they really enjoy singing.
Navigation Road - Navigation Primary Year 4
Children from year 4 (8 and 9-year-olds) who are very enthusiastic and willing to learn new things. Bubbly, polite and well-behaved children who are rather excited to get involved in this project. The school is located round the corner to the Navigation Metrolink stop.
About the track
Navigation Primary School worked alongside practitioner Tom Scott to compose and record a song for the Navigation Road tram stop (opened in 1992). The Year 4 group of school children contained a number of young musicians who, as well as providing a confident vocal track, also contributed to the arrangement with flute parts. The music was inspired by early 1990s pop ballades and reflects on how the Metrolink was implemented in 1992, and its resulting affect on commuters, congestion and pollution.
Andrew, who once upon a time was the scout featured in the song about Timperley, is now a full-time pianist and Musical Director working on theatrical productions in the UK and around the world. He can list Les Miserable, Wicked, Chicago, Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys, Matilda, Hairspray & Chitty Chitty Bang Bang amongst the shows he has previously worked on. He can currently be seen/heard as Musical Director of The Addams Family UK Tour. Andrew thanks Paula for the commission to write music for the Tram Tracks project, as it’s not something he’s done much of in recent years!
Laura is perhaps best-known as one half of the musical comedy duo, Frisky & Mannish (BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 4, BBC3, E4). Prior to that she received the DipRAM for Musical Theatre, at the Royal Academy of Music (supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council). More recently, she has been working as an international solo artist, notably with the Olivier Award-winning show La Soirée (London, Denmark tour, Perth, Auckland) and with German dinner-cabaret show Palazzo. Laura also thanks Paula for including her in the project, which has been a glorious way to reconnect with her roots and her beloved Manchester!
Laura & Andrew have also composed the music for the Broadway tram stop, a song titled Not That Broadway.
About the track
We were eager to write a song dedicated to the Metrolink stop that we lived near to for much of our childhood. Whilst deciding how best to honour the station and the surrounding area, we began reminiscing about stories from that time, and this anecdote, a true story, was what led us to compose what became a rather epic song detailing a full-blown tram adventure. It is written from the first-hand perspective of an eleven-year-old Andrew, circa 1994.
The Music Placce choir is a community-based choir led by choir leader, Clare Morel. They sing all styles of music from rock and pop to soul and jazz. They have lots of fun and are united by their love of singing!
About the track
The group all used the tram regularly, especially to visit Manchester and to attend concerts of various genres, which became the focus of the song. The song also includes some of the tram ‘stories’ the group had to tell about a ‘Tramclub’ work and meeting interesting people on the tram.
Sale - Alive and Kicking sign along choir (Waterside Arts Centre)
This is a choir for adults with learning disabilities, their carers and families. Some of the members of the group also have dementia.
About the track
A and K are a sign-a-long choir for adults with learning disabilities, their carers and family. Some of the members of the group also have dementia. The Metrolink is a lifeline for independent travel for many of the group, and their tram passes allow freedom and independence. This song reflects the groups thoughts about the tram network. The group were delighted to appear on North West tonight as part of the project and enjoyed learning the sign for Yellow Yellow Tram!
Dane Road - Stretford High School
The group is made up of a class of year 10 GCSE Music students. They are grade 2 to 7 musicians including five drummers, two pianists, and two singers all from a popular music background.
About the track
This song, On A Yellow Tram, was created and performed live by students at Stretford High. We combined the school choir, band and percussion group and asked them to write stories about their experiences on the tram, out of which emerged fictionalised snapshots of a day in the life of their part of the network. The piece is performed entirely live in the school hall, no mean feat considering the time available. Thanks to Chris Woolham, Ross Gallagher and Phil Bennett.
When we were commissioned to write a piece of music for the anniversary of Metrolink we were glad to be involved and excited to write lyrics about our home towns of Stretford and Manchester. The song focuses on a couple's journey, who use the Metrolink to go on their first date. They catch the tram in Stretford, then the date moves between various landmarks around Manchester (there's even a mention of The Smiths and Stone Roses!). We recorded the song at ATA studios in Leeds, which is an authentic 1960s analogue studio with no computers in sight. We used vintage instruments such as a Farfisa organ and a Mellotron (made famous by The Beatles on Strawberry Fields) and recorded each track of the song to tape for that authentic analogue sound.
A group of up to 30 young people aged 11-18 years from areas around Greater Manchester who rehearse once a week at Old Trafford and perform at varied events both locally and nationally. All members auditioned for their place in the choir which is headed up by two local music teachers, one of whom was originally a member of the choir. The choir sings contemporary chart-based material.
VIEW THE FULL GALLERY
The ACCG supports a vibrant group of older people who love getting together to socialise, keep fit and catch up with friends. The group members love music and relish the chance to sing with each other.
About the track
We worked over 3 weeks to create the pieces of music. Our soundscape of the tram took the form of a percussion improvisations where participants were invited to recreate the sound of a train journey which was a familiar experience to them. Participants used hand held percussion and drums to set up rhythmic motifs and you can hear these building over the first couple of minutes of our improvisation. The composer used a treble recorder and encouraged call and response of the sound of the train’s horn - ‘Woo-woo!”. The bluesy melody with the words “the train of Glory is a-comin” came out of conversations about Sister Rosetta Tharpe coming to Chorlton Manchester on the train and giving a concert on the train platform singing the wonderful song “This train”.
Our song is in a reggae style and is called Journey Cake. In Jamaica when people go on journeys they take with them deep fried dumpling-like cakes which taste a little bit like donuts without the jam. They have these with fried fish and a drink called Brebridge which is like homemade lemonade but with orange juice as well as lemon. The group loved to introduce the composer to this and the catering staff even made journey cakes and Brebridge for the second session which everyone enjoyed together. The composer asked the group how they knew when it was time to have the food and they said you have to keep your eyes on the sky and see where the sun is - then you’ll know. The composer recorded all three sessions and on the recording has created a montage underpinned by the recording of the song in the final session but with overdubs from previous sessions as not everyone was there at the last session. Sessions always closed with prayers of thanks led by different group members and you will hear some of this in the recording. It felt important to the composer to include this as the group had so much passion and energy and they really wanted to give thanks and praise for the music making.
This cross-generational group of members of the public focussed on the changing nature of Cornbrook. Initially, we thought about its role as an interchange station, but then began to discuss changes at Cornbrook more widely; the changing of the seasons, the time, the landscape, the people, the past and the future. The lyrics of the song reflect these ideas and the rhythmic piano accompaniment pushes us forward on the journey.