Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

An almost religious experience for faithful

Other Voices, Saturday night

Other Voices is an institution, whisking musicians, singers and bands to the coastal isolation of Dingle, Co Kerry, for an annual weekend-long winter music festival.

So what could be a more appropriate way of marking Londonderry's status as the first UK City of Culture than importing Other Voices and giving it an unmistakably Derry air?

Music fans were entertained all weekend by a stream of acts including Saturday's line-up of young Irish newcomers Little Green Cars, Derry's own Bronagh Gallagher, American alternative singer Jesca Hoop and Marina And The Diamonds. Other Voices' Dingle home is the St James' Church of Ireland, where the acts – who down the years have included Amy Winehouse, Glen Hansard and The National – perform on the altar space.

Derry had The Glassworks, a disused church dating back to 1837, festooned with a forest of fluorescent hearts.

Little Green Cars, the new indie darlings, set the tone for an evening by gathering around the mic for some a cappella songs.

Derry's own Bronagh Gallagher received the warmest reception of the night. MC, the Irish actor Aidan Gillen – no stranger to Northern Ireland thanks to his recurring role in Game Of Thrones – introduced her as an actress and singer who was "brilliant at both".

Her impassioned performance enlivened a set of soulful songs, including the bluesy Love Will Find You. And playing to a home crowd clearly delighted her: "It's such a joy to be here and to be home."

The lesser-known Jesca Hoop was the revelation of the night. She fluffed a note on her guitar but this was met with encouraging applause from the audience. "Welcome to the world of Hoop shambolic performances," she said .

Marina And The Diamonds rattled through hits like I Am Not A Robot, Primadonna, Hollywood and How To Be A Heartbreaker. "I haven't done anything but watch Jeremy Kyle for a month," she confessed, but her ability to perform hasn't been in the least harmed by the intake of daily trash TV.

A magical night for Derry.

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