Famous bands from Belfast

Famous bands from Belfast

Belfast's musical talent output is staggering, from quintessential blues guitarists to one of the greatest songwriters of all time. These artist's music speaks for itself, so listen to their songs as soon as possible for a lesson in what Belfast has to offer. Here are three of Singing Lessons Belfast's top picks:

Gary Moore was best known as a singer and blues guitarist who was born in Belfast and grew up opposite the Stormont Parliament buildings. A guitarist who was strongly associated with legendary singer Phil Lynott, he played for Skid Row and Thin Lizzy before venturing on a solo career that spanned an incredible 20 albums beginning in the early '70s. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Moore eventually became as influential in his own right, with artists like Slash and Joe Bonamassa citing him as an influence. His influence is widely acknowledged, and this is totally justified considering his sheer virtuosity in revolutionising and popularising, blues-rock as a genre. The list of his collaborators is a testament to his talent, including George Harrison, BB King and Bob Dylan, who all desired him for his velvety tone and perfect blues sound. Moore's songs like 'Still Got the Blues' are the epitome of the blues ballad, with emotive vocals backed up by guitar playing that goes from technically-perfect slow playing too fast runs that blend seamlessly. His vocals are the ideal study for a more modern version of the blues while his guitar playing is perfect for students of blues pentatonic. Moore tragically died in early 2011, but his legacy lives on in his extensive discography that spans thirty years, and almost every genre you can think of.

Katie Melua is an acoustic singer-songwriter who has had much success with her five studio albums today, putting her firmly within the under 30 rich lists. Originally born in Georgia, Melua spent most of her life after age eight in Belfast, where she cultivated her talent before going on to the BRIT School. Melua's albums range from folk music to blues and even into the jazz realm but never become inaccessible. Her smooth voice couples perfectly with the lyrics written by her and her collaborators to produce albums that go perfectly with an atmosphere of winding-down. She also enjoys recording cover versions, stating that "singing other people's songs brings something out of you", and has been very vocal about the particular songs she chooses. She includes versions of songs by Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman and James Shelton, while also citing Eva Cassidy as one of her biggest influences. Melua has since conducted huge amounts of charity work and has been entered into the Guinness Book of Records for playing the deepest underwater concert. Her blend of acoustic guitar and pretty vocals makes her the perfect choice for anyone looking for a softer side to Belfast's musical output.

Van Morrison is a true musical legend, a singer-songwriter active since 1958. Many of his albums were critically acclaimed and his live shows have gone down as some of the greatest in history. Over the years he has amassed six Grammy awards and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll hall of fame and the Songwriters hall of fame for his inspiration to innumerable artists that have come after him. In all the realms of his expression as an artist, Van Morrison is consistently ranked as one of the greatest, or most influential. As a vocalist, his unique style and tone of voice are compared to no others, except maybe Elvis Presley as an expressive tool. While in terms of his songwriting abilities, the hundreds of original songs he has written portray profound themes in the context of a genuinely great song, with influences such as William Blake and William Wordsworth often cited. His work spans multiple genres and his live performances have gone down in history. Morrison states that his stream-of-consciousness lyrics perform best in a jazz improvisational manner, rarely performing a song the same way twice. He also states that he loves performing best in smaller venues, due to their superior acoustics that suits his spiritual, Celtic influence best. If you are a fan of any singer-songwriter from the 1960s onwards, the chances are they were influenced by Van Morrison, so here at Singing Lessons Belfast we'd highly recommend checking him out for a masterclass in songwriting.

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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