Film role puts Wyre Forest musical trio in 'wild west'

Kidderminster Shuttle: Filming: From left, director of photography John Stainer, Neville Farmer, Ian Hatton and co-director Steve Russell on set in California. Picture: ANNA ANET KRIVENKOFF Filming: From left, director of photography John Stainer, Neville Farmer, Ian Hatton and co-director Steve Russell on set in California. Picture: ANNA ANET KRIVENKOFF

THE music for a cowboy film highlighting the plight of native Americans in South Dakota has been written by three Wyre Forest musicians.

Neville Farmer, a former parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats, Ian Hatton and Jon Bridger were commissioned to compose the music for West of Thunder, a small budget film for a good cause.

The film, set in 1899, follows the story of a mysterious stranger who visits a town on the outskirts of the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation.

The film hopes to highlight the many problems experienced by Native Americans in the region and help raise $15 million to build a school.

Mr Farmer, of Bewdley, said: “About 18 months ago I put a charity gig together with Robert Plant and after seeing the gig, the director of the film phoned me up and offered me the job on the film.

“I put together a band with Ian Hatton and Jon Bridger from Kidderminster and US fiddler Deni Bonet.

“It’s for a really good cause. They’ve suffered terrible problems with drink and drugs in South Dakota. Their average life expectancy is 47. It’s one of the poorest areas in the richest country in the world.”

The film has won two of the four annual awards from the Hollywood Political Film Society, the others going to Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Ben Affleck’s Argo.

The band appears in the film as The Fishkillers, named after Fishkill, in New York, where they wrote and recorded the film score.

Mr Bridger and Mr Farmer will be starting a small tour of the UK to play some of the music of the film live with a New Orleans singer Kristin Diable, who recently performed at the Superbowl American Football final.

The first gig will be next Thursday in Bewdley and will have a special Independence Day theme.

It will be held at the Cock and Magpie pub, in Severnside North, with support from Dave Onion and The Troublesome Trio.

Next Sunday, there will be music in the park at Bewdley’s Jubilee Gardens at 2pm, with support from Australian blues singer Gwyn Ashton.

Copies of the soundtrack will be available to buy at the gigs, with a proportion of the proceeds going towards the Sunka Wakan school, which will provide life-changing opporturnities for the Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

For more information visit sunkawakan.org

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