Imelda May Jazzed for Derry Return

Five years on from her Peace One Day performance the Dubliner is set to headline this year's Jazz and Big Band Festival

Irish musician, producer and singer/songwriter Imelda May is excited to return to Derry~Londonderry this year having been announced as headliner of the annual City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.

Now in its 16th year, the five-day festival will take place from April 27 - May 1, with previous Bank Holiday Weekends seeing more than 40,000 people descend on the city to enjoy some 200 live acts playing across 70 different venues.

May's most recent live appearance in Derry was at Ebrington as part of Peace One Day, the opening concert of the London 2012 Festival and one of the first major events counting down to the City of Culture 2013 celebrations. This year audiences will be treated to a brand new sound at the Millennium Forum on Sunday, April 30.

'I had a great time in city the last time I performed,' she said. 'I’m delighted to be asked to return and very pleased to be selected as the headliner for the festival.'

Many will have already had a taste of May's new direction when 'Black Tears', the lead track from forthcoming album Life, Love, Flesh, Blood, was aired as part of Jools Holland's Hootenanny special over New Year. 

'This is me. I always loved the fifties rockabilly style but there was a point where I felt I was almost dressing up as Imelda May,' she admitted. It was as if I was getting into character for a gig. And I didn’t want to do that anymore. Life changed.

'I love the albums I made before. They were honest to the person I was. But that was then … and this is now.'

Life, Love, Flesh, Blood features contributions from guitar hero Jeff Beck and Jools Holland himself, as well as an accomplished group of backing musicians including the core trio of guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), drummer Jay Bellerose (Elton John/Leon Russell, Ray Lamontagne) and bassist Zach Dawes (The Last Shadow Puppets, Mini Mansions), the same band that recorded Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand.

Writing contributions were also made from Angelo Petragalia (Kings of Leon) and Paul Moak (The Blind Boys of Alabama, Martha Wainwright).

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock welcomed the news: 'It is fantastic to have Imelda May headline this year’s festival,' she said. 'She has a huge following in the city and region so it’s great to have her perform here again and showcase her new sound and look.

'Tickets for the headline show at the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival historically go very quickly so make sure you get yours as soon as possible. This will be one show you do not want to miss!'

The full festival programme is still yet to be revealed, however the Red Stripe Band, the Jive Aces and Cat Scratch Fever are reported to be amongst many more high calibre acts set to feature.

Tickets for Imelda May’s show will be available from Friday, February 10 from or at the Millennium Forum Box Office on 028 7126 4455. Tickets are priced from £27.50 - £35.00. Early Bird specials are available to those booking before the end of February and pre-sale tickets will be available to Millennium Forum Priority Club members on Thursday, February 9. Visit the festival website for more information and further updates.