Beat Carnival Celebrates Homegrown Talent

David Lyttle

Belfast’s Beat Carnival has commissioned one of Northern Ireland’s most successful young musicians to write a summer dance hit to raise the profile of the arts charity.

David Lyttle, already a household name in Irish jazz, is gaining recognition as an urban music artist thanks to his latest album, Interlude, called ‘exceptional’ by MOBO. He has collaborated with many top-class musicians, including Mercury-nominated Soweto Kinch, US rapper iLLspokinN (Run DMC), keyboardist Jason Rebello and bassist Pino Palladino.

Celebrate features some of NI's rising and more established musical artists. For the track, Lyttle recorded the percussionists of Beat Carnival, which has been bringing Latin and Afro-Cuban sounds to various international music festivals since 2005. Rising Irish vocalist Rhea, whose voice Hot Press described as 'gorgeous and silky', sings a soulful chorus, and Meteor-winning singer/songwriter Duke Special contributes a powerful spoken word segment in the breakdown.

The single is just one of Lyttle's projects as the Beat Carnival's first musician in residence. The Beat launched his residency with a drums masterclass by Lyttle at the carnival centre, earlier this year. He'll be working with local musicians on the Beat Carnival's 2013 production, Urban Ballet – the Belfast leg of a four-country urban arts project involving South Africa, Portugal and France.

The Beat Carnival has a long history of musical skills development in Belfast. In 1995 it launched a legacy of carnival arts in the city by bringing over Olodum, percussive stars of Paul Simon’s “The Rhythm of the Saints”,  to work with the Beat’s in-house band. Samba was new to Ireland at the time, but over the intervening years, the Beat has been bringing top musicians from South America and Europe to Belfast in order to bring a new form of celebratory parade to the streets of Belfast. World-class groups such as Moleque da Rua (São Paulo), Grupo Bongar (Olinda) and Rhythms of the City (London) have given masterclasses to Beat’s in-house band, Beatndrum, as well as working with community groups and schools as part of Beat’s outreach work.

The Beat Carnival has always worked closely with local musicians and artists to create their public celebratory events. The video for 'Celebrate' was directed and produced by local film-maker, Adam Patterson, and was filmed at the Beat Carnival Centre in Belfast and locations around the city centre.  The video, which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phkkJXB5Bg4, has already racked up over 30,000 views in its first few days online - the Beat are hoping this translates into strong sales to support their work, when the track is released on June 23rd.

The Beat Carnival's work is supported by Belfast City Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.