Lepus Productions release audio drama KELI, written and composed by Martin Green (Lau) with co-creation and direction from Wils Wilson (The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart; Life is A Dream; I Want My Hat Back).
Starring Anna Russell-Martin (Macbeth; Annika) and James Cosmo (Braveheart; Trainspotting; Game of Thrones), KELI tells the fictional story of a talented but troubled horn player and the power of music, our communities, and post-industrial realities.
An exploration into the world of brass band culture, KELI is based on the stories from Martin Green’s critically-acclaimed 2022 BBC Radio 4 series, Love, Spit and Valve Oil, and was originally commissioned by the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh. Over three parts, it follows a 17-year-old girl’s spiral into the competitive, ruthless world of brass bands as she cares for her unwell mother, set against the culture of brass banding and the legacy of coal.
Blending together theatre and music, KELI has an immersive brass score performed by some of the UK’s top brass musicians. This music, Martin Green has entitled SPLIT THE AIR, and is available as an album to pre-order, stream, and download.
The album, SPLIT THE AIR, features a bespoke band including principle players from Black Dyke Band, Grimethorpe, Fairey and Brighouse Bands, as well as former BBC Young Musician of the Year, Sheona White, as “the voice of Keli” on tenor horn. Recorded in Manchester’s Halle St Peter’s, the music reflects the brass banding tradition, whilst the audio drama reflects the communities that continue this self-sustaining tradition.
SPLIT THE AIR will be performed at Glasgow’s Tramway in February as part of Celtic Connections, and will feature Martin Green, Sheona White, and 22-time Scottish Champions, Whitburn Band, as well as interviews and the chance to meet Keli for the first time in person. This body of work commemorates 40 years since the miners’ strike – demonstrating the resilience and creativity of post-industrial communities across the UK – and features the voices of former miners pardoned by the Scottish Government for their participation in the strike.
At Freedom Festival 2023 in September, Martin Green was joined by multi-award winning Director Emma Rice (Kneehigh, Wise Children) to present a work in progress sharing of KELI as a stage adaptation.