The Oh Yeah Music Centre has announced the details of its Sound of Belfast 2023 programme. This annual celebration, dedicated to showcasing the city’s musical talents, will take place from 9th-19th November.
Taking in Jazz, Rock, Blues, Trad, Folk, Pop, Electronic, Alternative and more, the festival celebrates our world-class music community through collaboration, partnerships and specially curated events. The breadth of musical styles reflects a city-wide celebration that spans North, South, East and West Belfast in addition to the bustling heart of the city centre.
The festival begins with Get On It to mark the third birthday of Yeo Magazine. Oh Yeah is also hosting an Alternative Ulster anniversary party to celebrate the 20-year inception of the magazine with Jonny Tiernan at the helm – expect a night of early 00’s nostalgia and surprise performances. There’s the annual NI Music Prize at Ulster Hall, which will see an Oh Yeah Legend Award presented by IMRO to Paul Brady, followed by a special performance.
Other festival highlights include a very special 30th Anniversary Show of Nirvana MTV Unplugged, in aid of PiPS Suicide Prevention Ireland. The album will be recreated in its entirety with music from The Peat Muppets alongside a range of other local artists. Emily White will present her Amazon Global No 1 Best Selling podcast on how to build a sustainable music career.
In addition to all of the above, the annual Women’s Work showcase returns as part of Sound of Belfast with an eclectic mix of new music; the only Youth Open Mic in Belfast will unearth new sounds of the city, as will the Volume Control Clash of the New Breeds live final. Beyond Skin will present a show titled Safe Harbour, Concert of the Diaspora, and there’s an exhibition called ‘Roots and Visions’, a display of arts and culture celebrating the diverse roots and inspiring visions of talented bipoc artists of the city.
Indie-pop artist Ferna will be teaming up with some of Belfast’s finest traditional musicians in The Duncairn to reimagine a selection of songs from her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Understudy’ with a new sonic palette. There will also be an exclusive curated event in Voodoo by Robyn G Shiels, 2013 winner of the NI Music Prize Album of the Year Award, a night not to be missed.
A unique storytelling aspect is integral to this year’s Sound of Belfast, to tell the tales behind the music. In Belfast Central Library, Duke Special will be discussing his new album ‘Blood for Ghosts’ which is to be released both on vinyl and as a book. Eric Bell will take us through his autobiography Remembering, Before, During and After Thin Lizzy with Stuart Bailie in The Deer’s Head.
Other priorities with Sound of Belfast includes partnering and promoting some of the great work of other festivals and arts organisations based in the city, this year that includes highlighting the Outburst co-production with Belfast Ensemble of queer theatre show The Headless Soldier, then there is Belfast Tradfest’s video exhibition Traditional Music Postcards From Belfast, Sea Wrack featuring staged performances by Northern Irish and Irish artists by NI Opera and an intimate Bernadette Morris concert in the historic setting of Conway Mill in collaboration with Féile to make note of.
Charlotte Dryden, CEO of Oh Yeah, said, “Sound of Belfast is about showcasing the best and the most exciting music that we have right here on our own doorstep. From world class musicians and inspiring celebrated names to an emerging exciting scene full of diversity. This year’s programme is the greatest example of this to date with 62 events in 25 venues. Thanks to the artists, venues, partners, funders, sponsors and everyone that is on board with our vision in promoting Belfast as a thriving place for music. Together we make a great music city.”
Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, “Sound of Belfast is another fantastic initiative curated by Oh Yeah, an arts organisation we are delighted to support with public funding. Oh Yeah has worked hard to deliver as much access as possible, for as many as they can, to first-class music events this November across Belfast city. We congratulate Charlotte and her team for their outreach work in helping to develop musicians across the year, and their ability to showcase the city’s musical talent in this way.’’
Sound of Belfast runs between 9th – 19th November, and full details can be found at www.soundofbelfast.com
Thanks to the following for their support of Sound of Belfast: Arts Council Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, BBC Radio Ulster, Music Venues Trust, PRS Foundation, PPL, IMRO, PRS for Music, Cathedral Quarter BID, Tourism Northern Ireland, Shine Promotions, Music Video Marketplace.
About Oh Yeah
The Oh Yeah Music Centre is a dedicated music hub for Belfast. It is a resource for musicians, a space for community and audiences and a place for the business of music. The Gordon Street building houses a recording studio, rehearsal rooms, a music exhibition, office units a live venue and a songwriting room.