Belfast Telegraph

Friday 6 March 2015

Bridging the divide is just music to our ears

Irish Sea Sessions, Ulster Hall

Taking a leaf out of BBC4's excellent Transatlantic Sessions, these Irish Sea Sessions celebrate the enduring link between Irish musicians and the Liverpool diaspora, gathering together a coterie of superb artists who represent the best of each.

Singer songwriter Ian Prowse kicked the evening off at the Ulster Hall on Saturday with Does This Train Stop on Merseyside? — an anthemic tune in the Ian McNabb/ Pete Wylie mould — before king of the bodhran players, Gino Lupari, led the ensemble charge into Crooked Road to Dublin.

What followed was a soundtrack of traditional music punctuated by superb performances from each of the guest musicians.

Singer Jennifer John may have mixed up Belfast and Dublin, but certainly knew her way round Van Morrison's Tupelo Honey.

The revelation of the night was Damian Dempsey, whose interpretation of the old folk song Go To Sea No More was the missing link between sea shanties and John Lennon's Working Class Hero.

As compere and bassist Bernard O'Neill remarked ‘there are no rules, apart from the audience enjoying itself'.

On that front, job done.

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