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Music in Hull

Tom Service explores music-making in Hull with some of the city's best folk musician. Plus folk collector Sam Lee, a profile of Ethel Leginska and the sounds of the Humber Bridge.

As part of Radio 3's Uproot festival, Tom Service presents an exploration of music and music-making in Hull, UK City of Culture.

On the Humber Bridge, Tom meets the local field recordist Jez riley French and Opera North's Jo Nockels, and discovers the ethereal sound world of The Height of the Reeds, an immersive installation which brings together the sounds of the bridge itself, with music by Norwegian artists and composers Jan Bang, Arve Henriksen and Eivind Aarset.

Tom also hears about the extraordinary story of pianist, composer and conductor Ethel Leginska. Born in Hull as Ethel Liggins, in 1886, Leginska's career took her to the US where she founded women's orchestras in Boston and New York, conducted premieres of her own operas in Chicago, and left a significant legacy as a teacher in Los Angeles. Dr Lee Tsang and pianist Graziana Presicce from Hull University tell Tom about Leginska's largely untold life in music.

At the house of local folk luminary Mick McGarry, he meets members of Folk in Hull for an evening of free-flowing conversation, whisky and song, hearing about Hull's thriving music-making scene, and how songs are being written about past and present, from the city's historical whaling industry to today's politics.

And the folk adventurer Sam Lee, who along with fellow composer Jack Durtnall is turning stories from Hull's seafaring communities into Hullucination, a new piece for the New Music Biennial, part of this year's UK City of Culture celebrations. Tom meets Sam and Jack, along with one of Hull's ex-fishing vessel skippers Ken Knox, at the Trinity House Academy, a secondary school with strong maritime connections.

Available now

45 minutes



  • The Height of the Reeds on the Humber Bridge

    Duration: 09:04

  • Ethel Leginska

    Duration: 10:30

  • Folk in Hull

    Duration: 12:16

  • Sam Lee - Hallucination

    Duration: 08:14


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Service
Interviewed Guest Jez Riley French
Interviewed Guest Jo Nockels
Interviewed Guest Lee Tsang
Interviewed Guest Graziana Presicce
Interviewed Guest Mick McGarry
Interviewed Guest Sam Lee
Interviewed Guest Jack Durtnall
Interviewed Guest Ken Knox


  • Sat 8 Apr 2017 12:15

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