Music Scene

Louise McQuade

Enjoying the ‘Sound of Belfast’

Charlotte Dryden from the Oh Yeah Centre and Chris McConaghy (of local band Our Krypton Son) launch the Sound of Belfast
festival programme.

The Sound of Belfast festival returns for a fourth year with a dedicated showcase for local artists.
The programme includes a mix of live gigs, talks, awards, conferences and music industry days as well as community programming and special events.

The festival incorporates The Northern Ireland Music Prize in Association with Blue Moon. It will take place at the Mandela Hall on November 11 and includes the presentation of an Oh Yeah Legend Award to Vivian Campbell followed by a full live set with his band Last In Line. The evening will also feature performances from three of this years NI Music Prize nominees, Arborist, Joshua Burnside and Robocobra Quartet.


Other highlights across the week include the launch of Native (on November 4), a music mart for local artists. There’s an opportunity to get your vinyl signed by participating acts, and there will be live music on the day from artists Jealous of The Birds and Duke Special.

Oh Yeah has been celebrating ten years across 2017 and on November 4 the centre will round things up with a dedicated party.

Special guests from across the years will be announced through the month of October.
Over the ten days there are events at nine Belfast venues including The Limelight, The Empire, The Sunflower Bar, Voodoo, The MAC and the Black Box. Gigs will feature more than 60 acts, comprising Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson, The Bonnevilles, Sister Ghost, Strange New Places, Leah McFall, Callum Stewart, Rory Neillis, Civil Simian, Burning Codes, No Oil Paintings, ROE, Wood Burning Savages, Mongol Gentelmen’s Club, The Tragedy of Dr Hannigan, Empty Lungs and many more acts to enjoy.

The Breaking Into Music Youth Conference returns to inspire and signpost young people towards creative careers, and the Music Cities afternoon is back for continued discussion with local and UK industry professionals. There’s a return to the Brexit debate, a focus on the success of Northern Irish songwriting and discussions on accessible spaces and places for musicians and fans.

Blue Moon Craft Beer returns as Live Music Partner and there are new partnerships and continued contributions from several music industry organisations such as PPL, On Music, PRS for Music, Help Musicians NI, UK Music, The BPI and Musicians’ Union.

Sound of Belfast also includes community event Urban Affinity, on November 8. Delivered with the support of Belfast Harbour, this event gives young people from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to access and participate in several music tasters across the day.
• To view the full programme visit

Leonard Cohan.


Cohen Poetry

THE final chapter of Leonard Cohen poetry is to be published in 2018 with ‘The Flame’ due for release in October next year.

The iconic Canadian poet and musician, who died aged 82 on November 7, 2016, first published a collection of poetry in 1956, and published 12 more volumes throughout his career. He also wrote two novels ‘The Favourite Game’ and ‘Beautiful Losers’ before his music career began in the late ’60s.

Publisher Canongate has called new collection The Flame “an enormously powerful final chapter in Cohen’s storied literary career.”

Cohen’s manager, Robert Kory, told The Guardian, “During the final months of his life, Leonard had a singular focus – completing this book, taken largely from his unpublished poems and selections from his notebooks. The flame and how our culture threatened its extinction was a central concern.

“Though in declining health, Leonard died unexpectedly. Those of us who had the rare privilege of spending time with him during this period recognised that the flame burned bright within him to the very end. This book, finished only days before his death, reveals to all the intensity of his inner fire.”

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