With the deadline of Wednesday the 30th of September drawing near, and entries arriving from far and wide, it's time to introduce the judges for this Allingham Festival Songwriting Contest!
Cathy Jordan is a singer, songwriter and musician who has been the front woman with traditional powerhouses Dervish for over 20 years. During that time the band have performed to sell out auditoriums all over the world in hundreds of cities in over forty countries. Cathy is also a radio and TV presenter who most recently presented Fleadh TV live from the All Ireland in Sligo, an independent production for TG4. Cathy is well known to the Allingham audience as she first acted as judge two years ago.
Ian Smith has been touring and performing in Ireland, Scotland, the UK, Europe and the USA for the past twenty years. His album 'A Celtic Connection' has been nominated for Album of the Year in a number of international music magazines. His influences include John Martyn, Dick Gaughan, Archie Fisher, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan. In great demand as a writer, he has worked with some of the best in the business (including fellow Allingham Judge, Cathy Jordan! - ed.). In addition, he has performed, supported and toured with Darrell Scott, Tim O'Brien, Kevin Welch, John Martyn, Paul Brady, Eddi Reader, and Sharon Shannon to name but a few. Highly respected on both sides of the Atlantic, Ian Smith is considered 'the Real Deal'.
Chanele Mc Guinness
Before beginning her solo career, Irish singer/songwriter Chanele McGuinness spent 3 years touring with Calfornian NPO “The Young Americans” teaching children through music all over the world. Having returned to Ireland, Chanele immediately started to play solo shows including Electric Picnic & Sea Sessions - some of Ireland's biggest music festivals. In 2014, Chanele won RTÉ Radio One's “Emerging Talent Contest” & was tipped as one to watch by presenters John Murray & Brendan O'Connor – appearing as a musical guest on both of their shows. 2015 has seen Chanele support American singer Natalie Prass on her EU & UK tour, playing to sold out venues all over Germany, France, Belgium, England & Scotland. Chanele released her EP “Already Gone” in July 2015, reaching #3 in the iTunes singer-songwriter charts. The new Galaxy Duet advertisement features Chanele, alongside London-based rapper Bxnjamin, and their modern twist on the classic hit “Moon River”. Chanele performed in the Saturday night concert at last year's festival, and we're delighted that she will return this year to judge the contest and headline the Saturday night gig.