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Imelda May to headline City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival

06 February 2017

The 2017 headline act for the 16th City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival has said she cannot wait to make her return to the city and celebrate her brand new sound when she performs at The Millennium Forum on Sunday 30th April.

The extremely talented Irish musician, producer and singer/songwriter Imelda May this year takes the headline spot as she launches her new music, which many will have seen when she performed her lead track Black Tears at the Jools Holland ‘Hootenanny’ special over New Year.

May will feature as the headline act at the five day festival from 27th April until 1st May. Sponsored by Guinness, the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival is an annual celebration of jazz and big bands featuring artists from all over the world. Organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council, the festival attracts upwards of 40,000 revellers to the city each year, who will enjoy up to 200 live music acts at over 70 venues during the Bank Holiday weekend.

As she prepares to bring her new album (described as a ‘new direction for May’) to the festival in late April, Imelda, when asked what her audience should expect, said, ‘This is me. I always loved the Fifties rockabilly style but there was a point where I felt I was almost dressing up as Imelda May. It was as if I was getting into character for a gig. And I didn’t want to do that anymore. Life changed.

‘I love the albums I made before. They were honest to the person I was. But that was then … and this is now.

‘I had a great time in city the last time I performed in Derry. I’m delighted to be asked to return and very pleased to be selected as the headliner for the festival.’

The new album ‘Life, Love, Flesh, Blood’, which she will be showcasing at the Millennium Forum features contributions from guitar hero Jeff Beck and piano maestro Jools Holland, as well as an accomplished group of backing musicians including the core trio of guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), drummer Jay Bellerose (Elton John/Leon Russell, Ray Lamontagne) and bassist Zach Dawes (The Last Shadow Puppets, Mini Mansions), the same band that recorded Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand. Writing contributions were also made from Angelo Petragalia (Kings of Leon) and Paul Moak (The Blind Boys of Alabama, Martha Wainwright).

Welcoming the news, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock said, ‘It is fantastic to have Imelda May headline this year’s festival. She has a huge following in the city and region so it’s great to have her perform here again and showcase her new sound and look.

‘Tickets for the headline show at the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival historically go very quickly so make sure you get yours as soon as possible. This will be one show you do not want to miss!’

While Council is yet to reveal the full programme, a number of other high calibre acts including; the Red Stripe Band, the Jive Aces and Cat Scratch Fever have reportedly agreed to perform at the North West’s most talked about musical event of the year.

Tickets for Imelda May’s show will be available from Friday 10th February at the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival website at www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com or at the Millennium forum Box Office on 028 7126 4455. Tickets will be priced from £27.50 - £35.00. Early Bird specials are available to those booking before the end of February and pre-sale tickets will be available to Millennium Forum Priority Club members on Thursday 9th Feb.

Further details on the festival which will take place from 27th April until 1st May around the city and district can be found at www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com.