String Ninjas

String Ninjas are a Belfast based instrumental duo consisting of Fingerstyle Guitarist Gavin Ferris and Electric Violinist Mick Conlon.

Having formed in 2017 against the backdrop of the Belfast open mic. Scene, the pair quickly established themselves as a musical force to be reckoned with and have since redefined what it is to be a cover act.

Their unique sound, characterised by heavy basslines, complex rhythms, technical solos and advanced performance techniques, has helped the Ninjas stand out, transfixing viewers with their energetic live performances and warm, welcoming personalities.

After performing at a number of high-profile music events such as Belfast Culture NightSunflowerfest, Stendhal, Dalriada Festival, the Hilden Beer & Music Festival and many more the Ninjas have garnered a lot of positive attention, wowing audiences with their own distinctive arrangements of modern-day classics. From 90s Dance Music to Classic Rock, Pop to Jazz, Bluegrass to Trip-Hop, no genre is safe!

With their fan base ever growing the String Ninjas are definitely ones to watch. For both casual concert goers and seasoned musicians alike, this duo will capture your undivided attention. The unique blend of grooving, intricate fingerstyle guitar parts intertwined with virtuoso “Jimi Hendrix” styled electric violin make for the perfect storm and will leave you wanting more.

Doors 12.30pm | Unreserved Seating

Moyra Donaldson/Nandi Jola/Stephanie Conn

Stephanie Conn is a graduate of the Creative Writing M.A. Programme at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University. She is the winner of the 2015 Funeral Services NI Poetry Prize, the 2015 Yeovil Poetry Prize, the inaugural Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing and the 2016 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. Her debut collection, The Woman from the Other Side, shortlisted for the 2016 Shine/Strong Award. Her new collection, Off-Kilter, will be published by Doire Press in Spring, 2022.

Moyra Donaldson is an award-winning and critically-acclaimed poet and creative writing facilitator from County Down. She has published eight collections of poetry, and her awards include the Women’s National Poetry Competition, The Allingham Award, Cúirt New Writing Award, North West Words Poetry Award and the Belfast Year of the Writer Award. Her poems have featured on BBC radio and television and on American national radio and television. Her latest collection, Bone House, was published by Doire Press in 2019.

Nandi Jola, originally from South Africa, lives in Portadown. She has had work commissioned for Herstory: Parallel Peace Project (with women’s organisations in Northern Ireland, Palestine and Israel), Transpoesie Poetry Festival, Ambiguities; Six Project and Arrivals 2 (five poems on experiences of emigrants and immigration). She has been a guest on the BBC Art Show and Culture Café. Nandi’s debut collection Home is Neither Here Nor There will be published in the spring, 2022 by Doire Press.

Doors 12.30pm | Unreserved Seating

NI Opera and the Great American Song Book

Spend an hour with Northern Ireland Opera in celebration of the Great American Song Book. Journey with us through the works of Rogers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, and Stephen Sondheim.

Join our Artist Development Programme singers accompanied by pianist Frasier Hickland as they perform well-loved standards such as: Almost Like Being in Love, Come Rain or Come Shine, If I Loved You, Get Happy, Oh What a Beautiful Morning, I Hate Music, People, No One is Alone and many more.

Paddy Anderson – A Flamenco Guitar Recital

The Musical Adventures of an Irishman in Andalusia.

Paddy Anderson is one of the very few professional flamenco guitarists in Ireland and the UK. In this brand new show, he invites us to experience the full range of colours and emotions of the solo flamenco guitar.

From the joyful style of alegrías and the profound soleá to the fun and celebratory bulerias and the brooding tarantas, Paddy brings us on a heartfelt and humorous journey across the Mediterranean melting pot of Andalusia.

Stunning original compositions and classic pieces from the repertoire by flamenco guitar masters like Paco de Lucía combine beautifully with surprising and funny stories from Paddy’s experiences of living in Spain on the flamenco trail.

Praise for ‘Fire in the Blood’ (Los Dramáticos):

Infectious passion and incredible musicianship. – Linley Hamilton, BBC Radio Ulster ★★★★

Compelling musicianship which lingers long in the heart after the final notes are sounded. I always want more.– Neil Martin, Composer ★★★★

A wonderful journey which lifted the soul and made the body tingle! Irresistible entertainment!’ – Nuala McKeever, BBC Radio Ulster ★★★★

Unreserved Seating | Doors 12.45pm

Zoë Conway & John McIntyre

With an exciting blend of eclectic fiddle and guitar music, Zoe Conway and John McIntyre bring to the stage sympathetic arrangements of traditional Irish music, compositions and songs, old and new.

The husband and wife folk duo possess a rare facility to draw pieces into their repertoire from other genres such as classical, jazz and world music and express this material in way which not only displays the sheer range and knowledge of both instrumentalists but also exhibits the wonderful versatility of their instruments.
Their debut duo album, entitled Go Mairir I Bhfad (Long Life To You), received a glorious 5 stars from The Irish Times.  For this unique album, they commissioned twelve leading Irish composers to each compose a piece specifically for Zoë and John, for fiddle and guitar, with the aim of collectively presenting a snapshot of traditional Irish music alive today.  The renowned composers who took part in the project were Liz Carroll, Steve Cooney, Frankie Gavin, Andy Irvine, Charlie Lennon, Donal Lunny, Máirtín O’Connor, Peadar Ó Riada, Mícheál Ó Súilleabhán, Tommy Peoples, Niall Vallely and Bill Whelan.

Zoë, no stranger to the stage, has performed with an impressive list of international artists including Riverdance, Damien Rice, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Rodrigo y Gabriella to mention but a few.  In contrast to this, she has been an important figure within classical music circles in Ireland and abroad, as her crossover discipline has allowed her the pleasure of appearing as soloist with acclaimed orchestras such as The Irish Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and German WDR Symphony Orchestra;
Zoë has recorded on major film soundtracks including award winning Float Like A Butterfly (Samson Films 2018), Artemis Fowl (Disney 2020), and the duo have recorded on Finding You (Red Sky Studio 2021) and Riverdance The Animated Adventure (Universal 2021).

John grew up in the Cooley Mountains of north County Louth where he took up guitar at 8 years of age. John studied classical guitar and piano for many years, and from early childhood was immersed in the language, songs and traditional dance music of south west Donegal – his father’s homeplace.

Together, Zoë Conway and John McIntyre have been described as “simply one of the best folk duos on the planet” (BBC), and audiences in Ireland and beyond keep coming back for more.  They were awarded Best Live Show from popular YouTube channel, Balcony TV, and have received in excess of a combined half a million views online.

“An ceol is binne agus is cruinne dá gcuala mé riamh.”

“Zoë Conway – Folk Instrumentalist of the Year 2020”  (RTE Radio 1 Folk Awards)

“Simply one of the best folk duos on the planet” (BBC)

Doors 12.30pm | Unreserved Seating

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The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Out To Lunch are annual festivals of music, comedy, theatre, art and literature which take place in January and May in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival / Out To Lunch Arts Festival
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Northern Whig House
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