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Ursula Burns, Botanic Gardens, Belfast

A wonderfully bizarre night of stirring vocals and lyrics

Published 20/10/2010

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ursula Burns has played everywhere from a police station in Amsterdam's red light district to London's Royal Albert Hall.

The eclectic musician added to her unique CV last night with a show in a circus tent in Botanic Gardens.

The choice of venue was perhaps a nod to Burns's teenage stint in the circus, but it proved to be an ideal setting for her atmospheric music.

The Belfast-born star was launching her latest album, Deep in the Dreaming, which wasdescribed during one of the meandering song introductions as “a winter album”.

Burns's five-piece band played an impressive array of instruments while special guest Liam Ó Maonlaí of the Hothouse Flowers added stirring vocals and a couple of rambling anecdotes of his own. As with all of Burns's gigs, this was a magical, exciting hour and a half of imaginative lyrics, soaring melodies and haunting music.

By the time a drummer, guitarist and bassist in military attire had clambered onstage for a jaunty tear through Floral Hall, the offbeat evening had turned wonderfully bizarre.

“I'd love to take you all home and make you a cup of tea,” said Burns near the end — and the wild-eyed grin on her face suggested she meant it.

ANDREW JOHNSTON

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