Six Acts That Prove NI Music is in Safe Hands

Chordblossom editor Robert Brown argues that there is life yet in the local artist landscape, despite fears that our best years are behind us

A week doesn't seem to go by without someone proclaiming that the music scene in Northern Ireland is dying or, rather remarkably, dead already.

Gone may be the days when Belfast's indigenous indie fraternity could stage its own two-day festival in the heart of the city, or when regular band nights could showcase the wealth of talent to sizeable, and predominantly paying, audiences, but there is still plenty of room for optimism. And while it can't be denied that certain genres aren't flourishing like they once were, things are far from as bleak as some would have you believe.

The Emerald Armada are headlining the Limelight, The Clameens are off playing events in India, Silences are receiving airplay in China and SOAK was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Those are just a few success stories for emerging musicians to aspire to and for those still keen to venture out and sample live music the likes of SO:NI, Shizznigh, Hidden Machine and ourselves at Chordblossom still routinely host gig nights.

With that thought in mind Chordblossom hosts its annual Christmas show on Thursday, December 10,  where you can not only support a range of local musicians but can also help raise money for a very deserving cause.

All proceeds will be donated to the Northern Ireland's Children's Hospice and your attendance will enhance their ability to offer high quality care and support to children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their parents and carers.

Not only that, we also believe the line-up of performers we've put together is resounding evidence that, contrary to opinion, local music is doing just fine. And given opportunities like these will once again be able to reach those heady heights we recall so fondly. See for yourself below, or better yet, at Redeemer Central on Donegal Street, Belfast, this Thursday night at 7pm.

The headliner on the night is riding a real wave of popularity and represents a musician at the top of her game. Kaz Hawkins is that artist and has proved her pedigree by picking up a hat trick of awards for her soulful blues.

Joshua Burnside is something of a stalwart of the local scene with his brand of experimental folk striking a chord with those lucky enough to sample it. Yet for a purveyor of the folk genre, live performances are full of verve and zeal.

There are often complaints about the lack of female musicians in the local scene but one group defying the odds is Vokxen. The indie pop quartet are causing quite a stir with their self titled debut proving irresistible.

Belfast singer-songwriter Jason Clarke's talent has earned him support slots with Paolo Nutini, Scott Matthews, Joan Armatrading, Ronan Keating and Ryan Sheridan but has also seen him sell out shows in some of his home city’s best known venues.

Derry has seen its fair share of talented musicians over the years and the current crop is headed by young songstress Jessica Doherty. The delicate tones of Jessica have already graced a number of high profile events including MTV Crashes and a showcase event in Los Angeles, for which she was selected by Generator NI.

If you need some really fresh new music then hopefully Brand New Friend will satify that demand. A family affair for Taylor and Lauren Johnson, the brother and sister duo have an affinity for energetic, sad songs about love and stuff.

Admission to the Chordblossom Christmas Show in aid of the Northern Ireland's Children's Hospice at Redeemer Central this Thursday (December 10), featuring the above artists, is £5 on the door.