Hot Off The Press
Updates for 16th March 2012

Celebrate 150 years of The Ulster Hall with BBC Radio Ulster’s
Great Northern Songbook

BBC Radio Ulster is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the iconic Belfast music venue The Ulster Hall with the one-off event The Great Northern Songbook – 150 Years Of The Ulster Hall.

This special concert, which Brian will be performing at takes place inside the Ulster Hall on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, is supported by Belfast City Council and will see some of Northern Ireland’s most popular music talent join forces with the Ulster Orchestra to perform the nation’s 10 favourite songs composed by local songwriters - as voted for by the public and BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle specialist music presenters.

From midday on Friday, March 16, music fans can log on to to vote for their favourite locally-composed song from a shortlist compiled by presenters Gerry Anderson, Colin Murray, Ralph McLean, Lynette Fay, Stuart Bailie, Cherrie McIlwaine, Rigsy, John Toal, Hugo Duncan, John Bennett, Alan Simpson and Brian Mullen. Brian's song 'Captured' has been shortlisted - please find details below on how you can vote!

This public vote will run for two weeks until Friday, March 30. We will also be releasing complimentary tickets to The Great Northern Songbook – 150 Years Of The Ulster Hall event. Ticket applications can be made from noon, on Friday, March 30, until 5pm on Friday, April 13 at A maximum of four tickets will be allocated per household address using a random draw. No late applications will be accepted and duplicate applications will not be considered.

Among the top Northern Ireland acts already lined-up to perform at the concert are Cara Dillon, Brian Kennedy, rock band The Answer, General Fiasco and Katharine Philippa. Further acts are yet to be announced.

The concert will be hosted by BBC Radio Ulster presenters Ralph McLean and Lynette Fay and will be broadcast live on the station at 8pm on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

Ralph McLean says: “We've always made great music here in Northern Ireland and some of the very greatest songs ever have been written by artists from up here. From Van Morrison to Jimmy Kennedy, we've produced songwriters of the very highest quality, people who've written tunes that have made people happy whatever their musical taste. I'm immensely proud of that heritage and I can't tell you how excited I am about hosting the Great Northern Songbook – 150 Years Of The Ulster Hall.

“The people who listen to our evening shows know their music like few others so it's going to be fascinating to see what favourites they pick. The fact that it's in the Ulster Hall also means a lot to me. I couldn't tell you how many great nights of music I've enjoyed in that historic venue down the years. I think it's the perfect setting for a celebration like this. Bring it on!”

Lynette Fay says: “BBC Radio Ulster is a huge supporter of local bands and local music of all styles. The Great Northern Songbook will further celebrate our diverse musical legacy, and it's very fitting that the live event will take place on the illustrious stage of the Ulster Hall, which played host to many great local and international artists through the years. The BBC Radio Ulster audience love, know and understand music and I'm delighted that they will be part of this celebration. I can't wait to learn the results of the public vote and ultimately I'm really looking forward to being part of yet another historical music event on a great stage.”

Fergus Keeling, Head of Radio, BBC Northern Ireland, says: “Local music, in its many guises, is a vital part of our schedule. Staging this unique event to mark the anniversary of this renowned music venue is our way of thanking our listeners for making us their home for specialist music and giving them their say on something we know they are extremely passionate about. Any 10 songs from our shortlist would make for a wonderful night of music. That they will be performed by some of the best music talent Northern Ireland has to offer, will make this a night to remember.”

Jacqui Owens, Operations Manager of Belfast Waterfront and The Ulster Hall, said: “Since opening its doors 150 years ago The Ulster Hall has been part of the very life blood of Belfast. Stars have shone and legends have been born in equal measure. While Led Zeppelin famously gave their very first live performance of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ here, The Grand Dame of Bedford Street has played host to a vast array of world famous names, from Charles Dickens to Motörhead.

“The Ulster Hall has been instrumental in helping make legends of numerous home-grown performers down through the years and propelling our arts and entertainment talent onto the national and international stages. Performers like Van Morrison, Ruby Murray, The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, Ash, Snow Patrol and countless others have cut their teeth on this famous old stage - performing timeless music that has become the soundtrack for generations across the world.

“It’s therefore fitting that we should celebrate The Ulster Hall’s 150th Birthday by showcasing the 10 most popular songs by local artists as voted by local people. BBC Radio Ulster plays a pivotal role in championing home-grown music and we are delighted to partner with them to present Great Northern Songbook.”

A total of 32 songs have been shortlisted by BBC Radio Ulster’s specialist music presenters. The public can vote for their favourite song from: Brian Kennedy - ‘Captured’,
Rudi - ‘Big Time’/ The Undertones - ‘Teenage Kicks’/ Ash - ‘Shining Light’/ Brian Kennedy - ‘Captured’/ Stiff Little Fingers - ‘Alternative Ulster’/ Them - ‘Gloria’/ The Undertones - ‘My Perfect Cousin’/ Van Morrison - ‘Madame George’/ Two Door Cinema Club - ‘Something Good Can Work’/ Snow Patrol - ‘Run’/ Divine Comedy - ‘Tonight We Fly’/ Paul Brady - ‘The Island’/ Phil Coulter - ‘The Town I Loved So Well’/ Duke Special - ‘Freewheel’/ The Divine Comedy - ‘Songs Of Love’/ The Four Of Us - ‘Mary’/ The McPeakes - ‘Will You Go Lassie Go’/ David McWilliams – ‘Days Of Pearly Spencer’/ Bap Kennedy – ‘Moonlight Kiss’/ Jimmy Kennedy - ‘South of the Border’/ Van Morrison – ‘Moondance’/ Van Morrison – ‘Brown Eyed Girl’/ Henry McCullough – ‘Belfast to Boston’/ Clannad – ‘Theme from Harry’s Game’/ Jimmy Kennedy – ‘Red Sails In The Sunset’/ Snow Patrol – ‘Chasing Cars’/ Cara Dillon – ‘Hill of Thieves’/ Tommy Sands – ‘The County Down’/ Kieran Goss – ‘Brand New Star’/ Phil Coulter – ‘Scorn Not His Simplicity’/ Phil Coulter – ‘Congratulations’/ Jimmy Kennedy - ‘Harbor Lights’.

· This public vote is available online only from and will open on Friday, March 16 and run for two weeks until Friday, March 30.

· The public may register for complimentary tickets to the event from noon, on Friday, March 30, until 5pm on Friday, April 13 at A maximum of four tickets will be allocated per household address on the basis of a random draw. No applications will be accepted after the closing date and duplicate applications will not be considered.

· The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle at 8pm on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.