Belfast Telegraph

Home-grown talents to play to millions of Americans in Belfast link to Nashville

By Staff Reporter

Local singer-songwriters Brigid O'Neill and Ciara O'Neill are tuning up for a concert set to be broadcast into 60 million homes across America, celebrating the musical connections between Belfast and Nashville.

Next Friday, March 4, they will take to the stage of The Empire Music Hall for a show billed as a highlight of the United Airlines Belfast Nashville Festival.

The musicians recently received the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's Artist Career Enhancement Award, funding which allows our most talented emerging artists to take their careers to the next level.

Ciara, from Portadown, will launch debut album, The Ebony Trail, at another festival performance on Saturday, March 5.

Ciara, who released her debut EP in 2014, was spotted at last year's festival by visiting Nashville-based publishers and songwriters, then spent three months in 2015 working with Grammy award-winning songwriters and publishers and performing live.

Downpatrick's Brigid O'Neill released her debut EP, Arrivals and Departures, in September 2014 to critical acclaim.

She will use her ACES award to network and co-write in Nashville with award-winning songwriters and develop her musical skills.

Festival Director, Colin Magee, said: "We're co-producing a one-hour television programme with Music City Roots and it's going to be great exposure for both the Panarts Belfast Nashville Festival and our local artists."

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: "The Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival is a wonderful celebration of the art of songwriting, bringing some of the finest international artists of this genre to Belfast audiences.

The 12th United Airlines Belfast Nashville Festival, backed by National Lottery funding, runs from March 2-6 and features 40 concerts and 100 songwriters.

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