Choirs sing out for the wealth of nations
The cultural wealth of many nations was celebrated this week at a unique musical event at The Lyric Theatre, Belfast.
Songs and music from all four corners of the world were brought to the Lyric stage in a unique collaboration showcasing the talents of the Belfast Harmony North and Russian Rosinka Choir, based in Northern Ireland.
Together, under the musical direction of internationally acclaimed composer and musician Neil Martin, local and international musicians joined singers to take their audience on a memorable musical journey through the music of India, Mexico, Bangladesh, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Ireland and Spain.
The venture is part of the innovative Cultural Coach Programme pioneered by ArtsEkta. Under the banner ‘Connections’, local choirs and performers have been encouraged to explore their own and others’ musical traditions exploring themes of diversity and inclusion.
Nisha Tandon, Executive Director of ArtsEkta, said:
“When they took to the stage last night our performers demonstrated, in the most powerful form, how music can unite cultures. Over recent months they have been working together on the widest possible range of genres, jamming their way through sessions involving ethnic percussion, tambura, guitar vocals, violin, piano and the Indian sitar … all designed to help them develop and share their musical creativity and heritage. The result was vibrant, exciting joyous experience.”
Looking forward to the event, his third ‘Connections’ concert, Musical Director Neil Martin, said:
“Each year we come still further on our musical journey of discovery and I feel privileged to have been able to build on the success of last year’s hugely successful World Music Showcase with some immensely talented and open-minded local singers and musicians. Together, they have created something unique and special.
“The performance of ‘Connections Roots’ at the Lyric demonstrated that sentiment in powerful style and celebrated the vast range of cultures and talent which we are fortunate enough to have right here in Northern Ireland.”
The programme of music and song featured performances from the Belfast Harmony North Choirs originally formed by international pianist Barry Douglas; the Russian Rosinka Choir who performed a-cappella songs in Russian, Ukrainian, English and Belorussian and a group of international musicians united by a passion for their chosen instruments. The evening showcased a blend of different styles culminating with a piece specially written by Neil Martin for the Connections project called ‘Tar liom, a ghrá’ /‘Come with me, love’, performed in both English and Russian.
The project has been principally funded by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery fund. Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council, Lizzie Devlin, welcomed the musical collaboration, saying:
“Although culturally we may come from different places and even speak different languages, time and again, events like this demonstrate that the arts have the unique power to unite us all. This inspirational event brought together gifted musicians from a host of countries for what has been a very special celebration of music and culture.”