IRELAND: The introduction of a new electronic aid for musicians, The i-Tab, was among the highlights of the Dublin-held event, writes David Davies. Scheduled for release in early 2010, the i-Tab takes the form of a 5" touch-screen tab player which scrolls the lyrics and chords of a song in perfect time, thereby helping musicians to learn new material.
In addition, the i-Tab - which is manufactured by an eponymously-named company in Co. Kildare, Ireland - can play backing tracks and tuition videos.
"The launch of the i-Tab was one of the highlights of a fantastic show," Niall Stokes - editor of Music Show organiser Hot Press magazine - tells PSN-e. "This is an Irish invention that scrolls the lyrics and chords of a song in perfect time, plays backing tracks, tuition videos and so on. The i-Tab stand was constantly packed with players, checking the i-Tab's capabilities. It really is a brilliant piece of new era music technology that will capture the imagination of musicians, especially the younger ones who are learning their craft. I think it's going to be huge."
In total, the 2009 edition of The Music Show attracted 11,822 visitors, representing an increase of 16.7% on last year. Approximately 10% of visitors hailed from overseas, while close to 2,000 attendees came from music schools, music performance courses, big bands and other institutions where tickets were sold in advance.
This year's event witnessed a number of new developments, including an increase in exhibitor floor space of around 15%, an expansion of the seminar programme by 33%, and a new 'workshop & masterclass' theatre.
In addition to the i-Tab launch, Stokes's list of show highlights includes a debate on illegal filesharing that saw contributions from Riverdance composer Bill Whelan, John Kennedy (IFPI), Shane O'Neill (Liberty Global), Jim Killock (Open Rights Group) and B.P. Fallon; a panel on production that involved Enya producer/manager Nicky Ryan and soundtrack supremo David Arnold; and a "really illuminating and informative" panel on songwriting that featured Simple Minds' Jim Kerr, Ruth-Anne Cunningham (whose credits include Pixie Lott and Kylie Minogue) and Paul Brady.
Stokes says that live performances from the likes of Imelda May, Sharon Corr, The Blizzards, The Coronas and Villagers were also well-received. "Add to that the public interviews with the Oscar-winning Glen Hansard and the Irish folk legend Christy Moore, both of which were wonderfully absorbing, and the masterclasses with guitar legend Johnny Fean and bass maestro Keith Duffy of The Corrs and Westlife, which were jam-packed and thronged with players, and you have a sense of the incredible variety of stuff that was going on over the weekend," he concludes.