Ash Top Great Northern Songbook Vote

The search for Northern Ireland's favourite ten homegrown songs culminates in Ulster Hall concert

‘Shining Light’ by Downpatrick band Ash was the most voted for song in BBC Radio Ulster’s Great Northern Songbook – 150 Years Of The Ulster Hall.

Following a public vote, the winning song was revealed as Northern Ireland's favourite homegrown track at a special concert in the iconic Belfast venue, supported by Belfast City Council.

The BBC Radio Ulster event, which marked the 150th anniversary of the Ulster Hall, saw ten Northern Ireland artists join the Ulster Orchestra to perform locally-composed songs as voted for by the public, as well their own choice of song.

BBC Radio Ulster presenters shortlisted 32 songs written by Northern Ireland composers and, from this, the public voted for their favourite, with the ten most voted for tracks being revealed and performed at the unique concert.

Fellow Downpatrick rockers The Answer performed their version of ‘Shining Light' at the event, with Bronagh Gallagher, Ciaran Gribbin, Brian Kennedy, Cara Dillon, General Fiasco, RAMs’ Pocket Radio, Katharine Philippa, And So I Watch You From Afar and Boxcutter (Barry Lynn) also performing.

The remaining nine most voted for songs, in no particular order, were Van Morrison’s ‘Madame George’, ‘Alternative Ulster’ by Stiff Little Fingers, ‘Hill Of Thieves’ by Cara Dillon, ‘Freewheel’ by Duke Special, ‘The Island’ by Paul Brady, ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones, ‘Days Of Pearly Spencer’ by David McWilliams, ‘Big Time’ by Rudi, and ‘Tonight We Fly’ by Divine Comedy.

The Answer also performed the rock classic 'Stairway To Heaven', which Led Zeppelin debuted in the Ulster Hall in 1971. The event was hosted by BBC Radio Ulster presenters Lynette Fay and Ralph McLean.

'I was very excited to hear the results and think that the most voted for ten songs in the Great Northern Songbook excellently represent our diverse musical tastes and our illustrious legacy of song writing,' said Fay. 'Unsurprisingly, Van Morrison is in there and punk and folk are well represented. Thanks to everyone who voted and who made this night such a memorable one.'

'It's been fascinating to see what people's favourite songs are,' added McLean. 'There are some real surprises in there for sure, but it just shows you how spoiled for choice we've been in terms of great songs. This is a great night of celebration in the Ulster Hall. Timeless music, amazing artists and the Ulster orchestra it all adds up to something truly special.'

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, said: 'The Ulster Hall has, of course, been at the heart of Belfast and our local musical heritage for many years – synonymous with names such as Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore, Stiff Little Fingers and The Undertones.

'It’s great to see this link maintained and celebrated tonight as we welcome seasoned, as well as up and coming artists, to the stage. This event is sure to stand out as a musical highlight, not only of the Ulster Hall’s anniversary celebrations, but also of a remarkable 2012.'

The Great Northern Songbook – 150 Years Of The Ulster Hall was broadcast live on BBC Radio Ulster and will be screened on BBC Northern Ireland later in 2012.