Arts

Anthony Toner and Madeline Slate among virtual See The Music line-up

Canadian singer Madeline Slate is behind the See The Music virtual gig which will take place on Saturday May 29 via Zoom

NORTHERN Ireland singer-songwriters Anthony Toner and Peter McVeigh will join Canadian singer Madeline Slate in a virtual signed and captioned live concert later this month.

The first ever Northern Ireland See The Music concert will enable Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people to enjoy a night of songs, stories and laughter.

See The Music is the brainchild of Slate, who herself was born with significant hearing loss, and has organised similar concerts in Nashville’s famous Bluebird Café.

“My dream is to show the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities what I love about music and to show the music community what I love about sign language and Deaf culture,” says Slate, who won the 2010 Belfast Nashville Songwriting Competition.

No stranger to Ireland, her great grandparents originated from Randalstown and she still has family here, including Jannine Waddell, of successful Holywood-based company Waddell Media.

Over the past decade Slate has collaborated with Irish musicians including Ben Glover, Matt McGinn, Gareth Dunlop, Anthony Toner and Peter McVeigh, with whom she co-wrote the song Last So Long.

“The ‘in the round’ concert style is an incredibly fun, one-of-a-kind experience that originated at the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. For those who don’t know what to expect, typically it involves three or four singer/songwriters sitting in a circle in the middle of a room or in a row on a stage (or in this case, on a screen).

“One songwriter plays a song, then the next songwriter plays a song, then the next, with some good craic in the middle.

“Anthony, Peter and I have all been friends for years so it will be a great night sharing some stories, laughs, and songs together.”

Coleraine musician Toner, who last year released his 10th album. Ghost Notes, Vol. 1, is looking forward to the event.

“It will be a pleasure to get to share the stage again – albeit virtually – with Madeleine, who has always connected so wonderfully with Northern Ireland audiences and artists on previous visits, and also for the first time with Peter McVeigh, whose work I have admired for many years.

“More importantly, the captioning offered during this concert will enhance the availability of the event to an often-overlooked section of the community and anything that makes music more accessible and inclusive is something to be celebrated.”

Slate says her hearing difficulties actually enhance her appreciation of music.

“I like to believe that being hard of hearing has gifted me with a unique perspective for writing as well as enjoying music because nobody else hears exactly the same way that I do.”

Passionate about making entertainment accessible, she hopes to return here in person when restrictions lift to hold further See The Music events.

“This is only the beginning. As clichéd as it sounds, Belfast truly has a piece of my heart and I can’t wait to get back as soon as possible."

:: See The Music featuring Madeleine Slate, Anthony Toner and Peter McVeigh will be held on Saturday May 29 at 8pm via Zoom. For your free ticket simply email seethemusicinfo@gmail.com

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Arts