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BBC to celebrate 50 years of Northern Soul

BBC Radio 6 Music is set to celebrate the 50th birthday of the legendary Wigan Casino, and by implication Northern Soul, on Saturday September 9, with a night of programming dedicated to the genre.

Broadcasting from 6pm on Saturday September 9 until 8am on Sunday September 10, highlights include a special Northern Soul edition of The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show and a broadcast of Stuart Maconie’s Northern Soul Prom, which was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in July. The Prom will also be broadcast on BBC Two on Saturday 26 August at 7.45pm.

Samantha Moy, Head of BBC Radio 6 Music said: “At 6 Music we love to delve deep into the scenes that shaped the UK’s musical history, bringing listeners stories from those who were there, insight from our expert presenters and of course, brilliant music. Stuart Maconie’s Northern Soul Prom was a triumph at the Royal Albert Hall, which was filled with joyous singing and dancing. I’m delighted to be able to share it on 6 Music as part our celebration of Northern Soul.”

Craig’s Northern Soul special edition of his regular Saturday night Funk and Soul show (6pm-9pm) kicks off the all-nighter. The show will feature a ten-piece soul house band – The Signatures – and special guests including Wigan Casino legend, Richard Searling and all-female R&B group, The Flirtations. Craig will also be going in search of the rarest Northern Soul record, recently sold for £100k.

From 9pm-12am, Stuart Maconie joins the party, as he and Craig introduce a broadcast of the Northern Soul Prom, created by Stuart and recorded with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

This celebration of British club culture brings a symphonic edge to the beats that took English towns across the North and Midlands by storm in the 60s and 70s. The programme sees singers including Brendan Reilly, Darrell Smith, Frida Mariama Touray, Natalie Palmer, Nick Shirm and Vula Malinga perform classic Northern Soul tracks such as You’re Gonna Make Me Love You, Open the Door to Your Heart, It Really Hurts Me Girl, Hold Back The Night and more – all accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Edwin Outwater. The songs are specially arranged by Joe Duddell and Fiona Brice.

Maconie said: “Northern Soul was and is one of the most thrilling and vital music subcultures ever. It’s a dynamic, sympathetic union of the sounds and dreams of generations in the industrial heartlands of the North and Midlands of the UK and their counterparts in New York, Detroit, Philadelphia and beyond. At the heart of the scene is this wonderful, dramatic, vibrant and inspirational music, as well as the passion and knowledge of its devotees. They brought the communal rapture of the Northern Soul clubs and dancehalls to the Royal Albert Hall, which was on its feet on every tier for the Prom. It was a night the like of which that grand and esteemed old building has never seen before.”

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