World-acclaimed accordionist Sharon Shannon who will be making her first appearance live at Lanyon Hall in Cookstown on Saturday March 5.
World-acclaimed accordionist Sharon Shannon who will be making her first appearance live at Lanyon Hall in Cookstown on Saturday March 5.

World-acclaimed accordionist Sharon Shannon to perform live at Lanyon Hall

SHARON Shannon has music at her fingertips (literally!) and next month the world-acclaimed accordionist from Ireland will make her first Northern Ireland appearance of 2016 at Lanyon Hall in Cookstown.

Sharon has achieved legendary status throughout the world and will make a welcome return to the Mid Ulster area for the first time in almost 15 years when she performs live at Northern Ireland’s newest live venue Lanyon Hall on Saturday March 5.

Shannon has made the accordion ‘cool’ in her home country, having recorded and toured with a ‘who’s who’ of the Irish and Global Music Industry, including Bono, Adam Clayton, Sinead O’Connor, Willie Nelson, The Waterboys, Shane MacGowan, Jackson Browne, John Prine, Steve Earle, Alison Krauss, The Chieftains, Nigel Kennedy, Alison Krauss, reggae legend Dawn Penn, Lee Thompson from Madness and The RTE Concert Orchestra.

She has also played for two US Presidents – Clinton at the White House and Obama in Dublin – as well as Irish Presidents Robinson and MacAleese on presidential visits to Poland and Australia respectively. More recently she played for The Sultan of Brunei, at the Basement in Sydney.

Now Sharon has her sights set on returning to Northern Ireland and is looking forward to revisiting Cookstown.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played in Cookstown but I’m really looking forward to my first appearance at Lanyon Hall, which I’ve been told is a beautiful live venue,” she said. “I have a strong connection with Cookstown through bass player extraordinaire Trevor Hutchinson, a native of the town who played alongside me in The Waterboys and then for many years as part of my own band, during which time we recorded many albums together.

“He remains a very good friend and, coincidentally, Trevor’s band Lunasa and my own band are both playing at the Kimo Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico, within a week of each other in March also.

“It’s hard to beat Northern Ireland audiences though,” she added. “They certainly know how to enjoy themselves so I’m sure we’ll all have a great night at Lanyon Hall in March.”

The genre-defying star has had multi-platinum album sales and several number one albums, singles and DVDs in her home country. Her album Galway Girl went four-times platinum in Ireland with the title track winning her the Meteor award two years running for most downloaded song. Sharon also celebrates being the youngest ever recipient of the Meteor Lifetime Achievement Award.

Venue owner Patrick Scullion is happy to welcome the world-famous star to Lanyon Hall.

“When we opened Lanyon Hall, our aim was to bring top quality live performers to the Mid Ulster region, and they don’t come much better than Sharon Shannon,” said Mr Scullion.

“Sharon truly is a global star, not just in the area of Irish traditional music, but through all musical genres from Hip-Hop and Cajun to Country, Classical and even Rap! Her music has also been featured in several Hollywood movies, TV series and the award-winning Bulmers TV commercial campaign.

“So we’re thrilled to be opening our doors with one of the biggest traditional music stars in the world and we’re sure that she’ll receive a fantastic Cookstown reception at Lanyon Hall,” added Patrick.

Tickets cost £15 and are available to purchase at the door or in advance from Ticketmaster, TOP 40 in Magherafelt, Stewart’s Music Shop in Dungannon, and The Black Horse bar in Cookstown. VIP tickets for the concert are already sold out.

Lanyon Hall in Molesworth Street, Cookstown, is a state-of-the-art multi-purpose live arena, inspired by venues in New York and Nashville.

Named after renowned architect Charles Lanyon who designed prominent buildings on Molesworth Street in the 19th century, the venue started out as a live music establishment in the 1970s before becoming one of the province’s best-loved nightclubs Clubland which closed its doors last year.

With capacity ranging from 400 to 1400 guests depending on the nature of the event, the design of Lanyon Hall also lends itself to a range of other live events with plans to bring some of the top comedians to venue, as well as indoor sports such as boxing and darts.

Lanyon Hall is the latest venture from fast-growing leisure group 1 Oak Leisure Ireland Ltd which has made a huge impact on the Northern Ireland social scene since it opened its first nightclub in 2012.