Ciaran plays Ulster Hall before big Australian tour with INXS

Ciaran took part in the Great Northern Songbook at the Ulster Hall on Tuesday.

Ciaran took part in the Great Northern Songbook at the Ulster Hall on Tuesday.

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NEARLY a year on from the big announcement that a Castledawson man was the new singer for INXS, Ciaran Gribbin visits home to play the Ulster Hall before a huge Australian tour with the band.

Ciaran chatted to the Mid Ulster Mail before taking part at the Great Northern Songbook on Tuesday, where local singers including Cara Dillon, The Answer and RAMS Pocket Radio perform popular Northern Irish tunes with the Ulster Orchestra to celebrate 150 years at the Ulster Hall.

“I’m one of ten singers performing with the Ulster Orchestra, it’s a bit of a dream gig for me. I played there once before when I was in band called Laya and supported Embrace about seven years ago,” Ciaran told the MAIL.

“To me the Ulster Hall was my dream gig, when I was growing up going there to see so many bands, it’s got such a wonderful history. Every artist has to a popular song from Northern Ireland, which will be a secret-and then a song of their own. So I’m going to do an INXS classic.”

Ciaran spent three days in New York visiting his brother John who is also a songwriter and then a week at home in Castledawson.

“We had an amazing party on Sunday, it was my son’s first birthday party and we invited all our friends and family and there must have been about 120 people there. It was great to see everybody.

“Everybody is just so supportive and proud of what has happened and it’s still very hard for everyone and me to believe what’s happened. I still wake up in the morning in Sydney and think, how has this happened? It’s crazy.”

On Thursday Ciaran flies back out to Oz to start a country-wide tour with the band. He said he was relieved to already have some Australian gigs under his belt.

“It was pretty nerve-wrecking to be honest,” Ciaran confessed. “The first one was in Perth just before Christmas and that was awesome because that’s where the boys are originally from. It was a serious weight on my shoulders, they are such an iconic Australian band.

“I am absolutely blown away by the response I’ve had by Australian fans in particular, they have been very kind to me.

That’s the one thing I was worried about, Michael Hutchence was such an influential character, he was a real true Aussie legend and icon and everyone has their minds made up about what INXS should be and obviously Michael was such a massive part of that.

“I talk about Michael every night on stage and how much I was influenced by him growing up and I think the fans can relate to that. They know I’m not going out there with an ego, it’s very much a case of let’s just go out there and play these songs as best I can and hopefully the fans have a good night. That’s all we really want.”

Ciaran says they have started recording an album and hopes to get the album finished around the tour commitments.

“It’s my goal to get an album out as soon as possible and get the band out touring again to promote it. I really want INXS to come back here and do a gig in Ireland. Maybe next time I play the Ulster Hall it will be with INXS.”