Northern Ireland

Derry-Londonderry's Sons and Daughters gather for first culture concert

The opening concert for Londonderry's year as UK City of Culture has been held.

Nadine Coyle
Image caption Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud flew in from Los Angeles to perform in her native city

Sons and Daughters was a celebration of stars of stage and screen with links to the city, who have gone on to achieve international acclaim.

It was the first concert to be hosted at The Venue, which has been purpose-built for 2013 and stands on the former Ebrington Barracks site.

There were over 11,000 applications for the 2,000 free tickets for the concert.

Included in the star-studded line up was Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud, Snow Patrol, Neil Hannon, Dana, Phil Coulter, The Undertones, Glee star Damien McGinty and The Priests, along with actors Amanda Burton and James Nesbitt.

The event was staged by BBC Northern Ireland.


A number of up-and-coming local acts also took part, as did the Derry choir Codetta.

Nadine Coyle was amongst the first to take to the stage and sang a melody of hits by the girl-group.

She said it was "brilliant" to be home and had flown in from Los Angeles to be there.

"It really is special" she said.

"This is huge production and it's great to be back for City of Culture."

The singer also did not rule out a possible Girls Aloud appearance in the city during 2013.

"When I looked at The Venue, I thought we could definitely do a show here. But I'll have to run it past the girls first."

Gary Lightbody
Image caption Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody paid tribute to John Hume

Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody and Johnny McDaid both have strong Derry links.

Standing ovation

They performed a number of songs including 'Just Say Yes' which was the theme for Derry's eventual winning bid to become UK City of Culture.

During the set, they dedicated the track 'Chasing Cars' to the Nobel Laureate, John Hume, who was in the audience.

Mr Hume also received a standing ovation from the crowd.

"For the difficult times in Northern Ireland that we are going through the last while I'd like to dedicate this song to peace and to the man who created it," Gary Lightbody said.

James Nesbitt introduced The Undertones as his "heroes".

The band played their classics 'Teenage Kicks' and 'My Perfect Cousin'.

Mr Nesbitt said 2013 will be a significant year for the city.

"It's a chance to show what's great about the place" he said.

"Derry is a city that can really breathe now and look forward with great excitement and pride."

The Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, attended the concert, along with Ministers Arlene Foster, David Ford and Caral Ni Chuillin.

Special night

Former Eurovision winner Dana sang the song that made her famous - 'All Kinds of Everything'

"It makes you feel very proud that all these people are from Derry," she said, adding that "everyone here is proud to be part of it".

Phil Coulter opened the show with a performance of 'The Town I Love So Well'.

He said it was a special night.

Image caption Dana said she felt proud to be part of the concert

"I am very proud to be from Derry. I am glad I am alive to see this. It is an opportunity for us to show what we can do - to deliver what we actually talked about."

Mr Coulter closed the show with a piece he has specially composed for 2013, 'Bright, Brand New Day'.

Derry was chosen as the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2010.

The city will host 140 events during the year, including The Turner Prize.

'Sons And Daughters' will be screened on BBC Northern Ireland on Saturday 26 January.

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