Singers showcased in Nashville festival

Published Thursday, 21 February 2013
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Belfast is celebrating the sound of singer-songwriters from across the globe in the ninth Nashville Songwriters Festival.

Singers showcased in Nashville festival
American songwriters will perform alongside local acts in the festival. (© UTV)

More than 100 are artists performing over five days this week as part of the festival and convention.

From Country to Rock, Americana to Traditional Folk, there's something on offer for all musical tastes.

Grammy award winning American artists Brett James, Nanci Griffith and Kristian Bush of Sugarland are playing the festival alongside talented Belfast songwriters Brian Kennedy, Gareth Dunlop and Katharine Philippa.

Canadian performer Garry Jackson has been taking part in the festival for the past five years and says it's a great chance artists from both sides of the Atlantic to get together and celebrate music.

"There's this camaraderie, this special feeling that I get with the music and the people and the artists," he explained.

Americana music will feature in many of the concerts with Gentry Morris, Otis Gibbs, Tommy Womack, Kim Richey, The Kennedys and Jarrod Dickenson playing in Madisons Hotel and the concert rooms at Holiday Inn Belfast.

One of the highlights of this year's Belnash festival is the CMA Songwriters Series at The Empire Music Hall with American Country stars Chris Young, Bob Dipiero, Brett James and Kristian Bush (Sugarland).

Between them, they have written 39 number one hits in the USA Billboard Country Charts and are considered to be song writing royalty in Nashville Tennessee.

Running parallel to the festival concerts is the Panarts Song Writing Convention, three days of workshops and panels.

Guest speakers include staff from, Invest NI, The Arts Council of Northern, PRS for Music, Irish Music Rights Organisation and several of the main artists from the festival.

Panarts Director Colin Magee said: "When we started the songwriter's festival back in 2005 we could only dream of having such a line up of world-class artists.

"It's our chance to focus on the people who create the songs we love and to put them centre stage. We're shining a spotlight on their talent and our 9th event is going to be another great year for Belnash concerts and workshops."

An extra platform for local artists will also feature this year, as the first Friday of every month at Holiday Inn Belfast will also host 'Songwriters In Concert', a new monthly music event and workshop series.

Local singer Tony Villiers said: "It gives unknown singer-songwriters from the north the opportunity to play and to a new and appreciative audience."

© UTV News
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