Musical Bursary

To celebrate the 20th Year of the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival, we are delighted to announce our first ever Young Person’s Jazz Bursary programme. 

The Young Person’s Bursaries has been awarded to five up-and-coming musicians who are influenced by Jazz and who will receive £1000 bursaries to help them to cultivate and fulfil their musical potential. 

We believe that all talented young musicians should have the opportunity to work towards their musical dreams and recognise that the past 12 months have made things increasingly difficult for young people in the arts. We hope that our bursaries will be a positive step in Arts Funding Northern Ireland to help young people to move forward with their musical journey.

The bursaries were open to 16 – 30-year-olds who are seeking assistance in the way of funding musical equipment, music tuition, higher education, the process of recording music or another relevant aspect of their musical career. 

We are delighted to introduce the winners below:

Joseph Leighton, 23

Guitarist Joseph Leighton has been hailed as one of Ireland™s brightest new jazz talents. Now 23, Joseph has toured as a sideman to many exciting countries in the world including Vietnam,Singapore,Lebanon and Jamaica (where half of his ancestry belongs to).

Callum Feeney, 21

Callum is a singer-songwriter from Derry who incorporates a number of different styles into his writing including, jazz, soul, folk and pop, utilising both personal experience and character driven stories as a source for lyrical content. His latest project under the band name ‘tessio’ focuses mainly on the world of folk and acoustic instruments.

Kitija Ernstsone, 28

Kitija is a multi-instrumentalist specializing on alto saxophone, second-year Undergraduate music student at Ulster University, Magee Campus.

Kitija originally from Lativa, she is a music artist passionate about live electro-acoustic music experiences. A very dynamic, expressive saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, and an upcoming music producer. With her unique arrangements, she explores and merges characteristics of Jazz, HipHop, Indie and Soul.

Diarmuid O’Kane, 25

Diarmuid O’Kane is a performing musician, composer/arranger and educator from Derry,  Ireland. Graduated from the University of Ulster with a First Class Honours Degree in Music in 2016. His career to date is varied and covers many genres of music and types of performances.

Mark McLaughlin, 18

Mark McLaughlin is an aspiring singer/songwriter who attends Foyle College. His love of the 1970s and 80s is apparent in his music, along with his unique style and blending of genres such as jazz, rock and pop. After writing original songs for five years, Mark will soon be releasing his debut album.

We wish all of the musicians every success for their future.