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Five Young Musicians Receive Bursary as Part of Jazz Festival

Bursary winners Diarmuid O'Kane, Mark McLaughlin, Joseph Leighton and Kitija Ernstone. Not pictured is winner of the fifth £1,000 Council bursary, Callum Feeney.

Five young musicians from Derry and Strabane are celebrating this week after being awarded a £1,000 bursary each as part of the City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival.

The bursaries were open to any musicians of a jazz inspired discipline in the Council area aged between 16 and 30 who required financial support to enhance and further their musical careers.

Funding for the bursaries was provided by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Council worked in conjunction with North West Regional College and Ulster University’s School of Music in the final selection process.

Joseph Leighton, Callum Feeney, Kitija Ernstone, Diarmuid O’Kane and Mark McLaughlin were all chosen to receive the £1,000 bursaries to help them take the next step in their music journey.

23-year-old guitarist Joseph has toured as a sideman to many exciting countries in the world including Vietnam, Singapore, Lebanon and Jamaica, while 21-year-old Callum is a singer-songwriter who incorporates a number of different styles into his writing including, jazz, soul, folk and pop.

Kitija is a multi-instrumentalist specialising on alto saxophone and is currently a second-year undergraduate music student at Ulster University’s Magee Campus. The 28-year-old is a music artist and upcoming producer.

25-year-old Diarmuid is a performing musician and composer/arranger, and his career to date is varied and covers many genres of music and types of performances, while Mark is an aspiring singer/songwriter with a unique style and blending of genres such as jazz, rock and pop. Mark will soon be releasing his debut album at just 18.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, with Joseph Leighton, Kitija Ernstone, Mark McLaughlin and Diarmuid O’Kane who have all been awarded a £1,000 Council funded bursary as part of the City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival, which takes place virtually this weekend. The project was also supported by North West Regional College and Ulster University. Also pictured, Andrea Campbell, Council Festival Co-ordinator and Leo Murphy, NWRC Principal & CEO.

Standard Was So High

Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Cllr Brian Tierney, said it was a real pleasure to congratulate the five young musicians on their success.

“I am truly delighted to award these bursaries to Joseph, Callum, Kitija, Diarmuid and Mark who all have such incredible talent.

“We were really pleased at the number of entries we received, and the standard was so high that it made it very tough to select just five out of the bunch,” explained Mayor Tierney.

“As part of the City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival, this year we are really focused on celebrating local talent and nobody typifies that more than this group of young people.

“As a Council we are delighted to supply this funding which will go a long way in helping them make the next steps in their career. It was also great to work alongside NWRC and Ulster University on this project.”

The 20th edition of the City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival takes place from Friday 30th April to Sunday 2nd May with a busy weekend of virtual performances and events.


Sarah O’Moore Drops New Single ‘I Need U’

Irish singer songwriter, Sarah O’Moore latest single ‘I Need U’ is available now on all streaming platforms. The song is an energetic anthem that examines the wrong doings in society. The boisterous sound coupled with matter-of-fact lyrics allows the song to flow through an honest ravine.

Making heads turn with her timeless, sultry, powerhouse voice is Irish singer-songwriter Sarah O’Moore. Raised on a diet of rock Gods & folk legends, is it any wonder that her style pogos from contemporary RNB to soul? Drawing comparison from Amy Winehouse to Billie Holiday. Sarah is a voice in her own right penning deeply introspective and profoundly outlandish work. Borrowing from her Corkonian roots, Sarah’s songs carry the dark underbelly of societal demise and her hybrid fusion of rich lyricism and melodic roots make her a touchstone for current times.

From an early age, Sarah has always been attracted to the soul talent of Nina Simone, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. It was through cosmic wordsmiths such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison, Sarah was able to hone her craft. Pursuing her dreams, Sarah set shore to Bristol; where she is currently studying Songwriting at BIMM.

O’Moore has said that the song is about ‘the political undertones of the past year. Its after showcasing the Omnipresence of racism in society and the ongoing battles of minority groups. It’s reignited our need to combat these issues. Lets not have the victors steal the narrative and have its victims forgotten.

The song is rallied with immediacy with the use of synth textures and raw vocals. The song questions the latent attitudes of government power. It’s time to support, speak up, press play and listen away.

Sarah plans to launch her debut E.P, “social paralysis” later this year. Which will act as a testimony to James Joyce’s “Dubliner’s”. She will embark on bringing these 20th century archetypes to life.

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Iconic NI band The Outcasts to take Punk to the Park

The ever-popular Belfast punk band, The Outcasts are set to make an explosive return to the stage at Ward Park in Bangor at Punk in the Park this summer as restrictions are eased and live gigs are permitted.  

The event, taking place on Sunday 22 August 2021 at 3pm – 5pm, is part of the Open House Festival as it resumes after a year’s hiatus with live music, comedy and spoken word events throughout August and September. The Belfast born punk group, made up of brothers Greg and Martin Cowan along with JP and Petsey Burns, will take to the stage in their first performance since 2020, supported by local Bangor band Wasted Talent.

Formed in 1977, the Outcasts are legends on the Belfast music scene having signed with Terry Hooley’s infamous Good Vibrations record label. Branded by local media as “the band you love to hate”, The Outcasts embraced their bad boy image and were central to the development of the youth punk scene in Belfast. Forty-four years on, the band are now signed with Philadelphia-based record label, Violated Records and released an EP under the label in 2019, their first since 1983.

Lead singer and bassist, Greg Cowan, said:

“We are thrilled to be taking part in our first live gig in 18 months. 2020 was due to be one of our busiest periods including our first ever tour of America, which unfortunately was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“We can’t wait to get back on stage and play together to unite everyone with a love of punk and celebrate the vibrant music scene Northern Ireland has to offer. With the tough times the music business has been through lately, it’s important for the public to get out and support local bands and musicians. So, I would encourage as many people as possible to come out to the event to celebrate the world opening up again.”

The outdoor gig marks the beginning of a flurry of activity for the punk icons as they prepare for a busy 2022, with tours through France and Switzerland before they return home for an Irish tour with fellow local rock band, Therapy.

Held in the open-air of Ward Park, all the Music in the Park events at the Open House Festival are free to attend for all ages and do not require booking. Guests are encouraged to pack a picnic and head down to Bangor for a Sunday afternoon of live music and an electric atmosphere.

The Outcasts can be found on Facebook @officialoutcasts.

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