Awards celebrate the best of local talent

Despite COVID-19, the NI Music Prize went ahead this month and while it had to be done online, it was the most incredible evening of positivity, high quality music and emotional speeches.
NI Music Prize 2020 Winners. Photo Credit: Carrie DavenportNI Music Prize 2020 Winners. Photo Credit: Carrie Davenport
NI Music Prize 2020 Winners. Photo Credit: Carrie Davenport

Organised by the Oh Yeah Music Centre and produced by MEP (Mike Edgar Production) the awards, which normally take place at the Ulster Hall, instead brought the live experience to audiences at home and around the world.

Streamed live on YouTube, it was a night of exceptional performances from Arborist, Careerist, Joshua Burnside, Kitt Philippa, Phil Kieran and Sasha Samara. The evening also featured exclusive footage of Snow Patrol from last year’s Ulster Hall show, as well as music from Jordan Adetunji.

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The Oh Yeah Legend Award was dedicated to the late Bap Kennedy. Ralph McLean paid a heartfelt tribute and the presentation was made to Bap’s wife Brenda who spoke beautifully about his legacy. There was a special screening of the Bap Kennedy Trio (with Brenda Kennedy and Gordy McAllister) performing a sublime version of his song ‘Howl On’, recorded live in 2012 at the Music Star, Norderstedt in Germany.

Three of the NI Music Prize awards were decided through public vote with each winning act receiving a cash prize of £1,000. Sasha Samara picked up the Oh Yeah Contender Award in association with BBC ATL Introducing. New Pagans won best Live Act, which was announced by Nathan Connolly of Snow Patrol. Arborist won Best Single, which is supported by Help Musicians, for the song ‘Here Comes The Devil’.

The big award of the night with a prize of £3,000 is for Best Album supported by PPL and Kitt Philippa won it for their stunning debut record ‘Human’.

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer of PPL commented on the awards saying, “Music is an important contributor to Northern Ireland’s culture, economy and community. Each year the Northern Ireland Music Prize celebrates the best of the country’s music and creates a platform to showcase its diverse range of talent. Congratulations to Kitt Philippa and all those recognised by this year’s prize for making music of exceptional quality.”