IN a new series for BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Sounds (available throughout the UK), Derry-born singer-songwriter Neil Hannon visits six European countries to discover - via a mix of the obvious and the obscure – the influence their music and creativity has had on the rest of the world.
Neil Hannon (51) grew up in Enniskillen, Fermanagh and went on to found the band Divine Comedy.
As well as enjoying considerable commercial success in the rock world, Hannon has also written many memorable soundtracks for television.
These include the Father Ted theme, Songs of Love; the theme music for The It Crowd; as well as critically and commercially acclaimed songs for Doctor Who.
In episode one of The Grand Tour, Neil imagines jumping on his scooter to travel across Italy, the birthplace of Dante’s poem which gave his band its name.
He knew all about the opera and the crooners – but what of the Italo house, the Godfather of disco and all those iconic soundtracks?
Neil then proceeds further across the continent, sharing anecdotes of many happy European tours – and holidays – in practically every European country.
Neil says: “I’ve always been fascinated and heavily influenced by European music. I’ve often
wondered why documentaries and the like tend to focus on music originating in the USA, the UK or even Ireland.
“You rarely hear about the amazing music of, say, Barcelona, Scandinavia, of Eastern Europe, or the less well-known elements of French, German and Italian pop. I intend to help put that right with this show and have a lot of fun as I do so.”
Europop – A Grand Tour: The Neil Hannon Show begins on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Sounds on Sunday 6 February at 4pm, available on BBC Sounds thereafter. The series is produced by David O’Reilly for BBC Northern Ireland.