South Shields expat’s musical tribute to hometown

Colin Dawson's band has recorded a song he wrote about his hometown. The track is called Sandancer.
Colin Dawson's band has recorded a song he wrote about his hometown. The track is called Sandancer.

A jazz musician from South Shields has penned a song in tribute to his hometown.

Colin Dawson’s track Sandancer appears on his band’s new album, Dancing.

The 55-year-old, who now lives in Germany and is part of jazz band Echoes Of Swing, has been back home over the festive period visiting his parents Jean and Roger in Biddick Hall.

Colin, who plays trumpet and provides vocals for the band, said: “The record company we’re with is called Act and they like themed albums, so this one is all about dance.

“The group is based on the jazz styles of the 1930s and 1940s and we’ve been performing together for 18 years.

“I wrote another song linked to South Shields called The Ghost of Marsden Grotto which was on our album, Message From Mars, which won awards in Paris and Germany and was given a four-star review by Downbeat magazine in New York.

Colin Dawson's band has recorded a song he wrote about his hometown. The track is called Sandancer.

Colin Dawson's band has recorded a song he wrote about his hometown. The track is called Sandancer.

“With the theme of our new album being dance, I thought it wouldn’t be right to go without a song called Sandancer.”

The dedicated Sunderland supporter added: “It’s based on sort of a mixture of the South Shields dialect and a comedy dance group from the 1930s called Wilson, Keppel and Betty.

“They did a routine called Sand Dance which was this sort of Egyptian dance they did while the stage was covered in sand.

“There’s also references and quotes from four songs from around the region, like When The Boat Comes In and the Lambton Worm.”

With the theme of our new album being dance, I thought it wouldn’t be right to go without a song called Sandancer.

Colin Dawson

Colin moved to Germany in 1985 when he began getting more work as a professional musician in Europe.

He now lives in Munich with his wife, Mayumi, also 55, a classical ballet dancer from Tokyo, and their 15-year-old son Leon, who is fluent in English, German and Japanese.

Colin and Mayumi met in Germany but tied the knot in South Shields and their wedding was the first ever booked at the Little Haven Hotel.

Now he tours the world with his popular jazz band, playing concerts in places like France, Lithuania, Japan, and across their native Germany.

Colin said: “I grew up in Westoe and although I live in Germany, I always think of South Shields as my home, Munich is just where I live and work.

“I used to just get home twice a year, but I try to come back more often now, fitting it in between tour dates.

“My wife loves it here, although it’s a little too cold for her, I don’t think she’ll ever get used to it. Leon loves South Shields too. The only family he has at home is me and his mam so he loves visiting all the family here and being made a fuss of.”