Local Belfast Music Scene
Belfast has been the subject of many songs about the violence in Northern Ireland. The song "Belfast Child" by Simple Minds was a big UK hit in the late eighties. Other songs about the city include "My Belfast Love" by Finbar Magee, "Fair Belfast Town" by Garry Jackson, "Belfast" by Boney M and "Old Belfast Town" by Wes Grierson. The city became an important hub during the industrial revolution. Artists from the region include Stiff Little Fingers, Katie Melua, Patricia Quinn, Dan Donnelly and Heather Harper.
Stiff Little Fingers was formed in 1977 during the Troubles. They stayed together for about six years and helped transform the sound of British punk. Even after personnel changes, the band remained in operation in 2013, with original singer Jake Burns. The band had originally been a rock cover band called Highway Star. Stiff Little Fingers took on much more political meaning. The band reunited in the 2000s and made new recordings including "Full Steam Backwards," which is about the British banking crisis.
Heather Harper is an opera singer bourn in 1930. Her first big show was Macbeth at the Oxford University Opera Club in 1954. Harper retired from singing in 1995. Ronnie Carroll was born in 1934 in Belfast. He began having UK hits in 1956 with "Walk Hand In Hand." In 1960 he entered the Eurovision Song Contest and won for "Girl With a Curl." Carroll had a few more UK hits in the early sixties. Sir James Galway also made Belfast history by being the first flute player from the country to build a career as an international solo flutist.
A key songwriter in Belfast has been Andy White, who studied at Cambridge University. He has written music with Peter Gabriel and Sinead O'Connor. In 1995 he was part of a trio called ALT featuring Tim Finn of Split Enz and Crowded House and Liam Maonial from Hothouse Flowers. White has played many big rock festivals, including WOMAD and Glastonbury. His most well known songs have been "Religious Persuasion," "Street Scenes From My Heart" and "Italian Girls on Mopeds." He recorded an album with Canadian songwriting friend Stephen Fearing in 2011.
Some of the venues where local talent can be discovered in Belfast include The Limelight, Mandella Hall, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Shine, Ulster Hall and Waterfront Hall. Queens University Belfast is a key focal point among the college crowd. The Oh Yeah Music Centre is the hub of the local music scene and two of its rooms were financed by the Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music. Some of the local acts that are attracting crowds in the 2010s include The Lowly Knights and The Answer.