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Music city

TO THE sound of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, the morning sun burst spectacularly over the hills of Donegal.

Some 400 people, including Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness who was quite concerned about the lack of bacon butties on the windy hillside, joined the Inishowen Gospel Choir as they provided a musical accompaniment to Mother Nature's finest work.

Warming rays crept up the mountain and over the lip of the ancient ringed fort at Grianan, marking the beginning of Derry's Music City Day, a full

24-hours-worth of world music which turned the entire city into a giant performance space.

The people of Derry were gently woken at 6.15am by classical music pumped from speakers as an orchestra of seven hot air balloons glided through the skies over the city. Many came to their gardens in their pyjamas to wave at the balloons as they passed overhead.

Every dog in the region joined in the dawn chorus, barking at the strange noise emanating from the skies. There wasn't a person in the city who slept past 6:30am.

By mid-afternoon several thousand people had gathered in the Guildhall Square for the biggest ever performance of Danny Boy in living history.

Young and old, Irish and otherwise, united in voice to belt out the iconic score so closely connected to the city.

Canadian composer, Martin Messier, conducted an 'orchestra' of eight old sewing machines at the old City Factory in the city. The Scottish highlands were represented on the city's walls, as was Africa, through a spectacular drum performance.

Other highlights included the Roaring Meg Busking Festival and the Sounds From This City Vs Sounds from the Cities on the Edge Festival.

The Music City Day ended at dawn back at Grainan Fort where a theatrical feast of processional sculpture, aerial theatre, song and fire dancing brought the greatest musical show in Derry's history to an end. ? ? CELEBRATION: Clockwise from left, hot air balloons in the sky above Derry city yesterday at 6.30am, the longest day of the year, each equipped with its own 'Sky Orchestra' sound system, created by Luke Jerram for Music City Day; The Big Ceili in the city's Guildhall; a saxophonist busks through the evening on Foyle Street; Brothers Naoise and Dara O'Callaghan hold tight as their mummy takes part in the joint choirs tribute to the 100th anniversary tribute to the song Danny Boy; Quebec composer Martin Messier with his Sewing Machine Orchestra; one of Ireland's most respected musicians Donal Lunny at the Taste of the Fleadh

PICTURES: Margaret McLaughlin

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