PROMOTERS announce some of their largest festival shows to date this week, a legend is honoured and we get another round-up of some of the best music the island has to offer on this week's edition of Northern Winds.
Belsonic, a now long-standing institution within the Irish festival circuit, announced its biggest-ever headliners for next year’s show at Ormeau Park and other select venues around the city. Thanks to the work of SHINE promotions, punters can expect performances from chart toppers like Florence and the Machine and Sam Fender, as well as the return of legends like Van Morrison and Lionel Ritchie. Belfast continues to grow as a viable performance hub for internationally touring acts.
On the subject of international acts, this week it was announced that one of the most acclaimed Belfast musicians of his era would be honoured with a special award – and you more than likely wouldn’t recognise him if he walked past you on the street. Composer Sheridan Tongue, a native of the city, multi-instrumentalist and renowned composer, has likely soundtracked some of your favourite moments on television. And this week, the NI Music Prize announced that they would recognise his work with the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’ award at this year's ceremony.
Sheridan is hugely successful on the global stage, having scored some of UK television’s most prestigious drama series, including Silent Witness, DCI Banks and Spooks, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA. Last year, he picked up a prestigious EMMY for his work on the quirky film The Last Artifact from the North West Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. His documentary scores are also highly memorable, including Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, as well as the landmark BBCNI Spotlight series, The Troubles: A Secret History.
On being selected and honoured, Sheridan said: “It is a huge honour to be recognised for this award by PRS for Music and the Northern Ireland Music Prize. I am really looking forward to being back in Belfast for the awards ceremony on the 16th of November, it is always a wonderful evening of music and I wish all those shortlisted for awards which will be announced on the night every success.
“As a teenager growing up in Belfast all I ever wanted to do was to make music, it was my passion. From many years of long days and late nights working in numerous recording studios in London with artists and producers across all genres of music to now composing and creating soundtracks for television shows that are shown all around the world, it has been an incredible journey. I would like to thank all the musicians, engineers, programmers and assistants that have worked with me on my soundtracks over the years and helped bring them to life.”
Release-wise, it was another strong showing for the parish, with some of the best releases of the year coming from independent artists in the last week. The latest from Anna Meike needs all the attention you can give it. She has always been a spellbinding vocalist, but her new track ‘Seraphim’ pushes all that’s excellent about her voice to the front. Vocals are interwoven with complex melodies and arrangements that combine alternative, Irish folk and classical music traditions. A mighty track from start to finish.
I was also treated to a brand new track ahead of release by Emily McCormick. The Derry-based songwriter released some of my favourite music under the pseudonym Bairie in previous years, and returns now under her own name. Her debut under her surname is the wonderfully lo-fi, jazzy number ‘Afraid Of Flying’. Wielding a sparse autotune like a scalpel, gracefully enhancing opening melodies and led by an easy-listening attitude towards acoustic, percussion and rhythms, this has become a regular listen on my morning commute. How is she not massive?
And the last of the week is the Halloween special from Drew Makes Noise. A heavier, welcome left turn from the DIY alt-pop of his previous releases, ‘Something To Kill’ has keys and melodies pulled from a Gorillaz album and acoustic and choruses that could inspire a mosh pit. An excellent addition from the songwriter/producer.