Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Songwriters' masterclass

Three troubadours share the fruits of their craft with Ulster audiences. Damien Murray reports on a show to please lovers of song

An evening of great live music and relaxed storytelling in intimate surroundings is on offer this weekend when three great singer-songwriters - Allan Taylor, Bap Kennedy & Brendan Murphy - team up to sing 'In The Round' under the collective title Stories From The Road.

Bap Kennedy's songs are full of graceful charm and lonesome wistfulness. He is a performer with empathy and a sense of wonder.

Allan Taylor, one of the great English songwriters, is a consummate performer and a writer of literary gracefulness. He manages to draw you into his own world, sometimes amusing you, at other times disturbing you. His gentle sense of humour wins you over as he regales you with anecdotes. Then, when your guard is down, he gives you a song that leaves a lump in your throat.

Brendan Murphy, lead singer from The Four Of Us, possesses one of Irish music's most distinctive voices and has written some of the most memorable songs of recent years including Sunlight, Change and the classic, Mary.

Stories From The Road is being staged this evening at Omagh's Strule Arts Centre, Strabane's Alley Theatre tomorrow (with Brian Houston standing in for Brendan Murphy) and the Down Arts Centre in Downpatrick on Sunday.



Another group of singers currently touring locally is the world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir, who sang I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For with Bono on U2's Rattle and Hum album.

Formed in 1988, the choir draws its core singers from various churches in the Harlem community, who share the common aim of bringing about a better understanding of African-American culture.

You can catch its thrilling, foot-stomping, hand-clapping show of blues, jazz and gospel spirituals at both Belfast's Waterfront tomorrow and Enniskillen's Ardhowen Theatre on Sunday.



One of America's popular country singers is also paying us a performing visit next week, when Collin Raye plays Cookstown's Glenavon House Hotel on Thursday and St Joseph's Hall, Omagh, next Saturday (November 24), with support from local singer Justin McGurk.

Raye shot to fame with Love Me in 1991, which laid the cornerstone for a career of meaningful songs.

Five times nominated as country music's Male Vocalist of the Year, Raye has used his stardom to advance many social causes.



A great Canadian double bill is on the musical menu at the Real Music Club in Belfast's Errigle Inn on Thursday and at Rathfriland's Bronte Music Club next Friday, when Lynn Miles and Alana Levondoski share the stage.

Miles, former vocal teacher of Alanis Morrisette, is a multi instrumentalist and recording star in her own right.

Her latest album, Love Sweet Love, is a road album, tracing the metaphorical journey of the human heart, sketching a road-map of modern relationships and heartache with smart, heartbreaking lyrics.

Singer-songwriter Levandoski is one of the better new artists to emerge, boasting a country/folk feel to her new debut album with songs that explore a myriad of human emotions from unrequited love, to isolation, rejection and spiritual yearning.



Other gigs worth checking out include: Damien Dempsey & Nizlopi at the Empire Music Hall on Sunday; Louis Stewart Trio at Old Flattop Session in the Rotterdam Bar on Monday; John Anderson's Voices of Ireland on Sunday and Charlie Landsborough on Monday and Tuesday (all at the Grand Opera House).

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