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Love, Spit and Valve Oil
Association of International Broadcasters nominates the BBC Radio 4 documentary by Martin Green for best Specialist and Factual Documentary 2022
Click here to listen to Love, Spit and Valve Oil on BBC Radio 4

Love, Spit and Valve Oil is a new documentary created by Martin Green for BBC Radio 4 exploring the history and magic behind the brass banding scene through their compositions, competitions, and communities.

Photograph: Sandy Butler

Musician Martin Green explores the phenomenon that is modern brass banding. Martin Green was inspired to make the series after following a poster at the National Mining Museum Scotland that said “brass in the park, this Saturday,” Martin discovered one of the most inspiring social music-making acts he’d ever witnessed.

The series that was also Radio 4's Pick of the Week has now received a nomination by The Association of International Broadcasters. This follows last year's nomination of BBC Radio 4's Dancers at Dawn, where Martin explored the connections between rave music and morris dancing.

The piece of music composed has already been showcased as part of the PRS Foundation's New Music Biennial 2022, by the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, including a sell out performance at the Southbank in London and further play on BBC Radio 3.

"I'm delighted that Love, Spit and Valve Oil has been recognised amongst such brilliant company by the Association of International Broadcasters.


The team behind it, the musicians, production teams, the generous people that told us such personal stories during the making of the series really captured just how important brass bands remain today.


Brass Bands provide a safe space, an intergenerational community of friends and family and an opportunity to grow, learn and receive a music education, as well as the chance to perform in front of audiences. They are the starting point for so many people's careers in music and provide so many others with a fundamental understanding and appreciation of music.


They are self organising, self sustaining and the quality of the performance is unfathomably exceptional. Most often they are run by heroes of the community to be an accessible and affordable way in to a music education." 

Martin Green

Determined to find out what continues to draw people into brass banding, both musically and socially, Martin decided to write a piece of music for a brass band and seek advice from those in the community. There, he finds a series of interesting juxtapositions and discovers the important role brass banding has in people's lives.


You can listen and watch to Split the Air just here, performed by Whitburn Band, and later was selected for the PRS Foundation New Music Biennial, performed at Coventry UK City of Culture and completely selling out the performance at the Southbank Centre. The music itself was subsequently presented on Radio 3 and the album behind the series will be released next year.

Love, Spit and Valve Oil is produced by Rebecca Gaskell and Martin Green as part of A Sparklab Production and Lepus Co-Production for BBC Radio 4. Music composed by Martin Green and Orchestrated by Benjamin Woodgates.

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