Belfast Telegraph

Everyone loves songs sung blue

By Damien Murray

Belfast Cathedral Quarter, various venues, Friday, August 27 until Sunday, August 29

You can expect the best of Jazz, Funk, Soul and Blues throughout next week’s August Bank Holiday weekend when over 40 artists appear at the second annual Belfast City Blues Festival at participating venues in the city’s bustling Cathedral Quarter.

The festival, which is supporting the Unite Against Hate Campaign, boasts musical legends from the USA, Australia, Scotland, England and Ireland, with rhythm and blues genius Georgie Fame set to top the Festival bill at a concert in the Oh Yeah Music Centre on Sunday, August 29.

Following a string of hits during the 60s, including the chart-toppers, Yeh Yeh, Getaway and The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde, Fame pursued his interest in jazz, recording the milestone album, Sound Venture, with the Harry South Big Band.

This led to successful tours of the UK and Europe singing with Count Basie and his Orchestra in the late 60s and later he became a regular on tour with Van Morrison.

The festival’s other major musical attractions include Wilko Johnston, the man behind Dr Feelgood and his band, who will headline the Oh Yeah Centre on Friday, August 27, while local blues and soul veteran, Rob Strong, will then be performing at the Black Box on the same night.

American songstress Mirenda Rosenberg is due to play a pulsating set on Saturday, August 28, at the Oh Yeah Centre in a double bill with the excellent Grainne Duffy Band and, due to popular demand, the ‘Blues on the Boat’ sailing down the River Lagan returns again this year. Meanwhile, Australian musician Hat Fitz will once again be joined by Northern Irish vocalist and instrumentalist Cara Robinson.

The festival has introduced a new innovation with the Stena Line Summer Time Blues Cruise, featuring local musicians who have received international acclaim, such as The Rab McCullough Band, The Lee Hedley Band, Rev Doc and Bee Sting Bradiner.

For full festival details visit www.belfastcityblues.com.

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