The Northern Ireland Music Prize celebrates the best of Northern Irish album releases and last year the top accolade went to soulful, folk-pop singer Foy Vance for his Joy of Nothing collection. But who will take the gong for this year?
The best album made by a Northern Irish artist or band will be decided by a group of music industry professionals following live performances from some of the shortlisted acts at the Mandela Hall, Belfast on November 15.
Among those shortlisted and performing on the night will be alt-metal rockers Therapy? who were formed in 1989 by guitarist–vocalist Andy Cairns from Ballyclare, drummer-vocalist Fyfe Ewing and bassist Michael McKeegan, who both hail from Larne.
The band, whose range of influences includes punk, pop and thrash metal that is definitely not for the fainthearted, have also been confirmed as set to receive an Oh Yeah Legend Award on the night. Previous recipients of the latter include punk’s Terri Hooley, Henry McCullough, The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers - which means Therapy? are about to enter quite illustrious company. One music critic describes them as “headbangers with their thinking caps screwed on tight”.
The band, who are set to perform from their Troublegum album, responded to the forthcoming accolade: “It’s a great honour to accept this award. Northern Ireland made us the people that we are today and growing up in its musical landscape informed our lives in many different ways.
“We’re very grateful and very proud.”
Stuart Bailie, CEO of the Oh Yeah Centre, added: “Therapy? fully deserve a Legend Award.
“They completely transformed our music scene in the 1990s and are respected internationally.
“They continue to make great records and it will be such a thrill to hear their ‘Troublegum’ classic performed in its entirety.
“It will be the perfect finale to the Northern Ireland Music Awards.”
He added: “This is all about shedding light on the Northern Irish music scene. And the more people who know about that, the better.”
The NI Music Prize event is being supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Mandela Hall, Belfast, November 15. For tickets visit www.wegottickets.com.