© Otley Brass Association 2013 - 2017
On Ilkla Moor Baht'at
Otley Brass Band is on a mission, following the shock realisation that the famous “Yorkshire Anthem” – On Ilka Moor Baht ‘at was apparently unknown by the children of the lower Wharfe Valley!
The mission is to re-introduce the song into the hearts and minds of our young people, to teach them the words and the music.
So dedicated to this cause is the band, that funds were secured through a kind donation from the “Friends of Ilkley Music Centre” to commission a Brass Band and Children’s Choral version of this musical icon of Yorkshire.
Conductor of Wharfe Brass and local brass teacher – Gordon Eddison first expressed his growing concern at this situation to the band in 2010 and throughout 2011 “informal research” was done at concerts and in the schools in which Gordon teaches and the results range from no knowledge at all to in one case a question “Did Muse record it”?
Gordon commented “This cannot go on. We owe it to our Yorkshire Heritage to preserve this song in the minds of our young people and not let it be relegated to words on a novelty tea-towel”......”Singing is vital to our children’s musical and social education, parents and grandparents should immediately put this right, teach them to sing On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at now”!
The history of Yorkshire/Lancashire rivalry has been put aside temporarily, as David Lancaster a famous LANCASTRIAN brass band composer and arranger has worked his Lancashire cotton socks off to compose a special arrangement of the piece for Otley Band..
On Ilkla Moor Baht'at tells of a lover courting the object of his affections, Mary Jane, on Ilkley Moor without a hat (baht 'at). The singer chides the lover for his lack of headwear – for in the cold winds of Ilkley Moor this will mean his death from exposure. This will in turn result in his burial, the eating of his corpse by worms, the eating of the worms by ducks and finally the eating of the ducks by the singers.
The song was also the inspiration for the pre-programme ident used by Yorkshire Television from 1968 to 1987.
Download the sheet music here (567k bytes)
Download the lyrics here (112k bytes)