Betty and Burns night

Betty Harrigan who launches her debut album 'Full Circle' at An Culturlann this evening. (betty harrigan 2)
Betty Harrigan who launches her debut album 'Full Circle' at An Culturlann this evening. (betty harrigan 2)

This evening An Culturlann hosts a very special Burns Night celebration with the traditional fare of poetry, music, food and completed with the launch of one of Derry’s hidden gems, Betty Harrigan.

The traditional singer has been flirting with the live scene for many years, few who have heard her sing will forget the very special talent. Tonight Betty launches her debut album ‘Full Circle’ to the world. On the evidence so far, the world will be a better place for it.

Prior to the album launch, there will be the celebrations of the life and works of Scottish cultural icon, Robert Burns.

The event is hosted by An Culturlann’s Cara Ní Mhaonaigh, who will be joined on stage by John Kennedy, Joe Diamond, Michael Sayers and the wonderful piper Jim O’Hagan. Anyone is welcome to recite their favourite Burns poem from the stage.

The event culminates with the launch of Ms Harrigan’s album, who will be joined on stage by some of Derry’s finest musical talent.

Despite the wealth of talent not only in her possession but surrounding her on stage, mother of two, Betty said: “I’m still so nervous I haven’t slept right all week, My nerves are wrecked.”

Betty said that the self financed album has; “literally been years in the making. I’ve always wanted to do this so I have eventually got round to it. I only had to look to my daughters, Claire and Una, for inspiration. They have been ‘total’ in their support.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how the album is received but I’m just glad to be enjoying my music,” said the singer from Cornshell Fields.

“Recording it at the Blast Furnace was great and I have to thank my long term collaborators, Andy Orr and Conor McAteer for all their help.”

Betty, an accomplished songwriter in her own right has written four of the tracks on ‘Full Circle.’

Tim O’Connor, an established folk singer, wrote a track specifically for Betty. Entitled ‘The Derry Quay’ Betty recalls: “He wrote to me to ask me to record one of his songs. I was delighted, what an honour.

“I didn’t even have the album underway at that stage.”

Betty also co-wrote with Andy Orr ‘Old brown leather album’ and ‘Stranger.’ The rest are traditional songs.

“It is so exciting but to have all those who recorded with me join me for the album launch, namely Peter Doherty, double bass, Ramon Ferguson guitar, Kieran Carlin, whistle and flutes, Stephen Carlin, accordian, Mark O’Doherty, percussion, Conor McAteer, backing vocals and Robert Peoples on violin.

Full Circle will be available from Cool Discs on Saturday as well as from Itunes, CD BABY and Amazon.