Londonderry turns up volume for Music City!

Composer Martin Messier with his Sewing Machine Orchestra
Composer Martin Messier with his Sewing Machine Orchestra

From dawn today until dawn tomorrow Londonderry is enjoying all kinds of music with performances from a wealth of local and international acts, including a performance by an orchestra of sewing machines, a sky orchestra delivering music from hot air balloons, artists from throughout Europe performing on Shipquay Street, Waterloo Street and Magazine Street, and late night dancing encouraged by the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club at Ebrington.

For Music City!, part of the City of Culture programmme, Londonderry is transformed into one giant stage as it hosts events including an en masse performance of Danny Boy, a line-up of acts curated by the founders of Exit Festival-Serbia and the debut performance of a new marching band composition by Brian Irvine and Sid Peakcock at The Playhouse.

The music began at 4.30am this morning with a dawn chorus at Grianan of Alieach by the Inishowen Gateway Choir before the city was treated to the sounds of the Sky Orchestra - an experimental artwork which features seven hot air balloons moving across the skyline, with music from emanating from each, creating an unusual sonic landscape for all below. At noon schoolchildren and choirs will assemble in Guidhall Square for a group rendition of Danny Boy, the Neil Cowley Trio are at St Augustine’s Church, 1.30pm, and the Sewing Machine Orchestra - yes, a collection of sewing machines whose noises have been arranged into music by Canadian composer Martin Messier, a specialist in industrial sound - can be enjoyed today at 1pm and 7pm at the old City Factory as part of the ongoing Shirt Factory Project.

Cities on the Edge at Ebrington will feature acts from Harare, Zimbabwe, Beirut, Lebanon, Serbia - cities often considered as marginal in terms of dominant musical culture. The Sound of Legenderry line-up, also at Ebrington, will see performances by local bands Little Bear, Wonder Villains and others, before Buena Vista take to the stage. Brian Irvine’s new composition Beyond the March will be performed at The Playhouse at 7.45pm and DJ Greg Wilson is at the Nerve Centre from 10pm until late.

Chief executive of Culture Company 2013, Shona McCarthy, said: “From dawn choruses across the city to sky orchestras and the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club bringing the chance to dance to The Venue at Ebrington, this will not be a day for sleeping. Music City will fill the longest day of the year with a celebration of music of all genres.”