Female Guitar Heroes to Rock Derry

Some of music's most talented women feature in this weekend's City of Derry Guitar Festival line-up with concerts, masterclasses and more

Over the course of 15 years the City of Derry Guitar Festival has become a late summer staple in the North West, inviting top talents from around the world to exhibit their mastery of different playing styles while offering expert tutelage through a range of workshops and one-off masterclasses.

To celebrate its milestone edition, which takes place this weekend (August 25 to 27) at the North West Regional College, organisers have brought together an all-female line-up of world renowned classical guitarists for two nights of exquisite international sounds.

Friday features performances by Wiktoria Szubelak and Isabel Martinez, regarded as two of the leading guitarists of their generation, while Saturday's World Stage concert includes a solo set by Dominika Bialostocka on classical guitar with accents on the legendary Cuban composer Leo Brouwer.

Each will also be involved with delivering the Classical Guitar Course on Saturday and Sunday, and are regarded as outstanding teachers for their friendly thorough approach in addition to their unique abilities on stage.

Derry guitar fest female

'In a predominantly male-dominated world like that of classical guitar, this year we decided to focus on the extraordinary talent of these three young ladies, to showcase their very distinctive playing styles and techniques,' says Sean Woods, Artistic Director and founder of the event. 'The Classical Guitar Course and all concerts promise to be a treat for all local and visiting guitarists!'

The Saturday night's line-up also features Amir-John Haddad 'El Amir' showcasing the fire of flamenco and the haunting sound of the Arabic Oud. It follows a festival-first workshop on the instrument and its influences on flamenco guitar-playing earlier that day.

Meanwhile, as metal fans everywhere mourned the last hurrah of Black Sabbath as a live band earlier this year, there'll be riffs from rock's great pantheon as local guitarist Ted Lynch heads up a course dedicated solely to the music of Ozzy and co. Fittingly then, as darkness sets on the night of the Sabbath, participants will take to the stage for this year's Student Gala, a night of solo and full band performances of 'Paranoid' and other classics from the heyday of heavy.

Courses are still open for applications, while tickets for all performances are currently on sale. To find out more go to www.cityofderryguitarfestival.com.