19 May 2022

County Derry music hub celebrates local talent with launch of new album

The album was recorded at Glasgowbury's Small But Massive studio.

County Derry music hub celebrates local talent with launch of new album

Emma Doherty is one of the performers on the 'Songs in Rural Key' album.

A County Derry creative hub is celebrating its area's local talent with the release of a new CD recorded just before the Covid-19 lockdown at its 'Small But Massive' studio.

The 'Songs in a Rural Key' album is part of Glasgowbury's 'Rural Key' Music and Media programme, for children across Mid Ulster interested in music, multimedia and creative industries.

As well as the finished album, the programme allows young rural people to develop their talents through weekly lessons and workshops on song writing, performance and showcase opportunities.

Voice Kids star Dara McNicholl has been coming to the hub for years.

Local star Dara McNicholl, who rose to prominence during his Voice Kids appearance earlier this year, was attending Glasgowbury long before he hit our screens and recorded an original song as part of the programme.

“I’ve been a student at Glasgowbury for 4 years now learning guitar with Ruairi, singing and songwriting with Gemma and I’ve recorded music with Nathan and Ryan in the studio,” he said.

“When you walk through the doors you instantly feel like you’re part of a family. There’s a real connection between teacher and student.

“When you come in for your lesson or workshops, numbers and percentages aren’t the goal, it’s knowing you can learn and create something.

“Glasgowbury is so accessible! I have learned that music is so much more than I first perceived.

“Throughout my time here I’ve achieved more than I thought I could. I now have the confidence to want to get on a stage.

“These are moments that have changed the way I want to sing, write and work with music.”

Up-and-coming Draperstown DJ Caomhan McGuigan.

The tracks were recorded during February and March by ten young people of the 57 who attended the creative development workshops throughout 2019.

Glasgowbury had been set to celebrate its 20th year with a line up of celebratory events, including one to launch the album, but after the pandemic forced a postponement, the group pressed on with the CD.

The programme caters for young people from the age of 9 to 17, who take different things from it. 17-year-old Caomhan McGuigan, one of the students, has praised the quality of equipment and tuition.

“I have been learning how to DJ and produce music in the Glasgowbury hub now for about 6 years,” he said.

“What keeps me coming back to Glasgowbury is the tutor that teaches me and the equipment they have available is top quality,” he said.

“For me personally the best thing about the creative hub is being able to come in and use the equipment and its so local and easy to get access to and affordable tuition.”

For the younger students, taking their first steps in performance and having fun with their friends is at the centre of their experience.

“Being able to play and sing my very first song in front of my family and friends was amazing,” said 9-year-old Ciara McGuigan.

“I love going to Glasgowbury as I get new opportunities to have fun; playing the guitar, singing, percussion, making new friends and to dance.

“A highlight for me was being able to sing on the stage in front of a big audience, it was so much fun. The best bit is seeing my friends, teachers and doing what I love.”

Glasgowbury have been sharing the music videos associated with the CD on their social media, and have a presence on YouTube, Spotify, Facebook and Instagram.

The 'Songs in a Rural Key' album is currently available to download from for £5.00, with funds raised reinvested back into creative workshops.

More information on Glasgowbury's creative hub and the Rural Key programme can also be found on the Glasgowbury website.

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