The home of music in Northern Ireland

16 Jan, Wednesday
8° C

Get to Know: Ursula Burns

Music in Northen Ireland is nothing if not diverse, and you’d be hard pushed to find an act that illustrates that more evidently than self-professed “Dangerous Harpist”, the enigmatic Ursula Burns.

Influenced by musical comedians in the vein of Tim Minchin, Ursula is a comedic, harp-playing singer and a true individual. Get to Know, Ursula Burns.

Name: Ursula Burns

Where you’re from: Belfast

Describe your style in 5 words or fewer: Dangerous harping; comedy; performance; unclassifiable.

Best thing about the Northern Ireland music scene: The creativity, energy, diversity, the people.

Digital music, CDs or vinyl: I usually press CDs because I fund my own albums, but I am a massive fan of old-fashioned vinyl and I want to press my next release on vinyl! The longevity is better but CDs are handy merch.

Biggest musical influence: Prince, The Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush.

What you’re listening to right now: Cafe Tacvba – Futuro.

Favourite venue: Connolly’s of Leap, West Cork.

Best local band/artist of the moment: Blue Whale.

Last gig you attended: Hazel O’Connor and Cormac Dubara at The Black Box.

Best gig you have ever attended: Leonard Cohen at Dublin Castle and The Cure at Electric Picnic.

Gig you wish you could have attended: Prince.

Favourite album of all time: Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas.

Musician you’d love to collaborate with: Tim Minchin.

Last thing you do before going onstage: Power pose.

Most prized possession: Gypsy, my harp.

Dream festival line-up: The line-up that they have at the festival in Belfast at the end of May!

Ursula Burns’ album The Dangerous Harpist is available to download online. Her latest recording The Assistant’s Revenge is a soundtrack of original music, written for a Cahoots NI theatre production of the same name. It’s due for release on 9th March and will be available for sale at the performance in The Mac Theatre on 11th March as part of the Belfast Children’s Festival.



Writer for Gigging NI. My tastes are varied; began listening to the folksy standards of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and indie favourites like The Cure and The Smiths, all of which permeated my formative years in the 80s. My first gig was Prince in Cork in 1990. The 90’s also included The Trip to Tip in ’91 & ’92, and gigs by Van Morrison, David Byrne, The Verve, Counting Crows, John Prine, Morrissey, Chris Smither and many more. The noughties brought James Taylor, Squeeze, New York Dolls, Neil Young, Arlo Guthrie amongst others; though a highlight was an opportunity to see lifelong hero David Bowie on his final tour, Reality in 2003. This decade I’ve had the chance to see everything from Erasure, Johnny Marr and They Might be Giants to Thirty Seconds to Mars, Aslan, Crosby and Nash, Georgie Fame, Paolo Nutini, John Grant. Latterly there's been a pretty serious obsession with Rufus Wainwright, and the Wainwrights in general to be honest. In the last few years, I’ve also been enjoying a lot more of our home grown talent, with the likes of Duke Special, Brian Kennedy, VerseChorusVerse, The Bonnevilles, Tony Villiers and the Villains, The Hardchargers, and The Four of Us – so I guess you could say no common thread to speak of!