Beat Carnival Music


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Beats In The Street 2019


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More 2019


Beat Carnival previously had two significant Musician In Residence posts: David Lyttle over 2013 and Katie Richardson over 2014. They were significant as they were year-long positions with significant, eminent musicians – and among the results were masterclasses, a new Beat Carnival Street Band and Choir, new music, new themed songs, a single, a music video… and more. They were posts/projects that I wanted to have and decided to have as Director of Beat Carnival, paid for with our own funds rather than grants – and as such not something we were in a position to do again year after year. Over two and a half decades Beat has commissioned many new songs and much new music, engaged many bands and musicians in long-term creative relationships and music creation, enabled new collaborations, created access for thousands of participants to music making and produced hundreds of music performances and showcases on stage and on the streets, at our own events, at festivals and civic & community events, across Belfast, around Ireland, in UK and in Europe. Of course at the core of our activity from the 1994 beginnings has been carnival drumming and excellent samba bands. There's lots more new music development and production coming in 2019, including a particular Musician In Residence post with Joby Fox in late March.


Beat Musician In Residence, March 2019 - Arts Education Seminar



Joby Fox Seminar Artist In Residence

Announcing Joby Fox as Musician In Residence for the Arts Education Seminar at end of March 2019

Joby is a songwriter and performer, known as an authentic voice of post-conflict Belfast. He has a long history in music from the Punk era and UK chart-topping with his Celtic rock band Energy Orchard, to his solo career today. His often hard-hitting words have challenged identities and ideologies and paved the way for difficult conversations. He has been involved in international and local initiatives as an advocate for peace. His End of the War music and film show opened the inaugural UN Peace Festival in Hong Kong in 2014. The show challenged labels of identity and helped create dialogue between old and young and people of diverse backgrounds in Northern Ireland. In 2016 he was musical director of the Orchestre des Refugies et Amis fusing his contemporary Irish songwriting with roots music from across the world. As a humanitarian activist, Joby has immersed himself in the refugee crisis in Greece. He is co-founder of Refugee Rescue, an NGO providing life-saving sea rescue at the refugee crossing on the island of Lesbos. In 2017 he received the Aisling Award in Belfast for his work in music and as a humanitarian. You’ll be seeing more about the launch of Joby’s new single on Valentine’s Day and new album ‘Woodstock’ at beginning of March. More news about what he’ll be doing with us at the end of March, to follow!




BEATnDRUM is our community samba band for adults and is a key player in the Afro-Brazilian drumming network in Ireland, maintaining strong links with friends and peers the length and breadth of the island. Performing many styles of Afro-Brazilian/Cuban percussion, members of Beatndrum regularly play with other large groups of specialist percussionists, such as Maracatu Ilha Brilhante, Bloco de Dublin, Maracatu Estrela do Norte and Eri Okan. Read more - including how to get involved - at our BEATnDRUM section.


Beat's 2014 Musician In Residence: Katie Richardson


Katie Richardson and keyboardist Phil D'AltonFollowing the success of our inaugural residency, the Beat Carnival has again appointed a musician in residence to work with participants in the creation of new music for the Beat Carnival's public events. Katie Richardson is a musician, composer, musical director, actress and facilitator. Known for her energetic and engaging live performances, she has performed with many bands including her own, Katie and the Carnival and Goldie Fawn, and collective The Salt Flats. She has made many TV, radio and festival appearances and has worked and shared a stage with the likes of Van Morrison, Foy Vance, Matt Cardle, Misha B, Duke Special, The Inishowen Gospel Choir, Emmy the Great, Thomas Truax, Nell Bryden, Open Arts Choir, Hothouse Flowers and Jesca Hoop. Katie has performed in venues all over the UK and Ireland as a soloist, session singer and choral singer in several award-winning choirs. 

Katie will work with Beat Director, David Boyd, on defining the artistic identity for Beat’s carnival music and will create new music that complements, contributes to and expands Beat’s carnival events and other music programmes. Katie is creating a Beat Street Choir & Carnival Band and composing a new Belfast-themed song, an early version of which was debuted at our Belfast 2014 St Patrick's Day parade. 

Get involved and/or keep up-to-date with Katie's work at our Beat Musician In Residence Facebook page.

Beat's 2013 Musician In Residence: David Lyttle

Artwork for Celebrate single by David Lyttle & Beat Carnival feat. Rhea & Duke SpecialThe Beat Carnival appointed one of NI's most successful young musicians, David Lyttle, as our first Musician in Residence. Already a household name in Irish jazz, David is gaining recognition as an urban music artist thanks to his latest album Interlude, which was described as 'incredible' by the Daily Mirror and ‘exceptional’ by MOBO. He has collaborated with many top-class musicians, including Mercury-nominated Soweto Kinch, US rapper iLLspokinN (Run DMC), keyboardist Jason Rebello (Sting) and bassist Pino Palladino (Adele, D'Angelo), and is widely credited for discovering guitar prodigy Andreas Varady. David's role is to create new music performance and contribute to the artistic development of Beat’s music artists and artforms. He kicked off his residency with a jazz drumming masterclass at the Beat Carnival Centre, before settling in to write and produce a summer track for the Beat. Celebrate features our in-house samba band, Beatndrum, as well as Rhea on vocals and a fantastic spoken-word segment about Northern Ireland from one of NI's top stars, Duke Special. 

The single was commissioned to raise the profile of the Beat Carnival whilst raising funds for our continued work, and marks an expansion into new genres for us as part of our commitment to artistic development and creative innovation. As well as being featured on BBC ATL, BBC Arts Extra and RTE 2XM, it gained extensive commercial radio play across the Republic of Ireland (Beat 102 103, Spin, Red FM).

Celebrate is available to buy on iTunesAmazon and Beatport

The music video, which was directed and produced by NI's Adam Patterson and which was created with the help of a talented group of local volunteers, was shot in the Beat Carnival Centre and at various locations around Belfast. The video went viral in its first week on YouTube, with over 57,000 views at present. 

Masterclasses & Residencies

We have brought many international musicians and bands to Belfast over the years to deliver masterclasses and weekend residencies and to collaborate on projects. These include Moleque Da Rua (Sao Paolo, Brazil), Grupo Bongar (Pernumbuco, Brazil), Barak Schmool (Rhythms of the City, London).

In 2013, we've followed our first masterclass with David Lyttle some by Jason Rebello (keyboards) and Steve Lawson (bass). Keep up to date with our programme on our events page here and on Facebook.

Commissioned Works

The Beat Carnival has commissioned work from many of local musicians in recent years, including Ruby Colley, Phil d'Alton and Donal Scullion.