Friday night saw the 2016 edition of the NI Music Prize take place in Belfast’s Mandela Hall. From a shortlist of twelve albums from the very best in Northern Irish music, there was to be only one winner.
Following in the footsteps of SOAK, Robyn G Shiels and Foy Vance, nominated again this year, it was Aghagallon’s Ciaran Lavery who clinched the NI Music Prize 2016. His winning album ‘Let Bad In’, his second full length release was selected by a panel of music industry and media representatives from Northern Ireland.
The husky voiced folk singer, who has made himself a firm live favourite, has had plenty to be proud of in the past few years. Gaining fans in Northern Ireland, Ireland and much further afield with European tours and American shows, plus incredible levels of Spotify success totalling 56 million streams, to date. His enticing live show will be celebrated with a live album release this December, recorded in The Mac, Belfast last Christmas alongside a stunning string quartet.
The award is produced by the Oh Yeah Music Centre, and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and was part of Sound of Belfast. CEO of the Oh Yeah, Charlotte Dryden had this to say. “The shortlist was outstanding again this year, but Ciaran Lavery is such a worthy winner. Northern Irish artists are doing us proud, locally, nationally and internationally making an impact. The Sound of Belfast festival programme continues to promote the great potential and celebrated names of NI Music from grassroots to celebrated names. Ciaran Lavery is an artist to be celebrated and we think he has an amazing future ahead of him.”
The night also saw the presentation of the Oh Yeah Legend award, previously presented to the likes of The Divine Comedy and Terri Hooley. The award was presented to Downpatrick legends Ash, currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album ‘1977’. The band played the album in full, plus a few surprises, to a packed out Mandela Hall on Friday night, with the band keen to celebrate Northern Irish music’s successes and the band’s precursors. The award was sponsored by the PRS foundation.