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PROMOTERS announce some of their biggest festival shows yet this week, a legend is honored and we get another roundup of some of the best music the island has to offer in this edition of Northern Winds. week.

Belsonic, a longtime institution in the Irish festival circuit, has announced its biggest headliners for next year’s show at Ormeau Park and other selected venues around the city. Thanks to the work of SHINE promotions, punters can expect performances from top performers like Florence and the Machine and Sam Fender, as well as the return of legends like Van Morrison and Lionel Ritchie. Belfast continues to develop as a viable performance hub for international touring.

Speaking of international artists, this week it was announced that one of Belfast’s most acclaimed musicians of his time would be honored with a special award – and you probably wouldn’t recognize him if he walked past you in the street. The city’s native, multi-instrumentalist and acclaimed songwriter Sheridan Tongue probably composed the soundtrack to some of your favorite TV moments. And this week, the NI Music Prize announced that it would recognize his work with the “Outstanding Contribution to Music” award at this year’s ceremony.

Sheridan is hugely successful on the world stage, having scored on some of British television’s most high-profile drama series including Silent Witness, DCI Banks and Spooks, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA. Last year, he landed a prestigious EMMY for his work on the original film The Last Artifact from the North West Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. His documentary scores are also highly memorable, including Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, as well as the acclaimed BBCNI Spotlight series, The Troubles: A Secret History.

After being selected and honoured, Sheridan said: “It is a huge honor to be recognized for this award by PRS for Music and the Northern Ireland Music Prize. I can’t wait to be back in Belfast for the awards ceremony on November 16th, it’s always a wonderful musical evening and I wish much success to all those who will be selected for the awards that will be announced that evening.

    Anna Meike's new track

Anna Meike’s New Track “Seraphim” Is A Perfect Vehicle For A Mesmerizing Vocal

“As a teenager growing up in Belfast all I ever wanted to do was make music, it was my passion. Many years of long days and long nights working in many studios from recording in London with artists and producers of all genres of music to composing and creating soundtracks for TV shows broadcast around the world, it has been an amazing journey. I want to thank all the musicians, engineers, programmers and assistants who have worked with me on my soundtracks over the years and helped bring them to life.

As for releases, it was another strong performance for the parish, with some of the best releases of the year coming from independent artists last week. Anna Meike’s latest needs all the attention you can give it. She’s always been a mesmerizing singer, but her new track “Seraphim” brings out all the greatness in her voice. The vocals are intertwined with complex melodies and arrangements that combine the traditions of alternative, Irish folk and classical music. A powerful track from start to finish.

I also got a brand new track before it was released by Emily McCormick. The Derry-based songwriter has released some of my favorite music under the Bairie moniker in previous years, and is now returning under his own name. His debut under his last name is the wonderfully lo-fi and jazzy number “Afraid Of Flying”. Wielding a sparse autotune like a scalpel, gracefully enhancing the opening melodies, and driven by an easy-listening attitude to acoustics, percussion, and rhythms, it became a regular listen on my morning commutes. How is it not massive?

And the last of the week is Drew Makes Noise’s Halloween special. A heavier, welcome left-hand turn of DIY alt-pop from its earlier releases, “Something To Kill” has keys and melodies pulled from a Gorillaz album and acoustics and choruses that might inspire a mosh pit. A great addition from the songwriter/producer.

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