Celebrated Belfast blues musician Rab McCullough turned 70 this week, and a whole host of friends and family turned out to support the local music legend with a surprise birthday concert at the Black Box.
The event, which was organised by close family members, was kept a secret from Rab for weeks and was attended by a whole host of familiar names from the local and international music scene. The birthday concert, which was a celebration of Rab’s life in music, featured jamming sessions from music guests as well as a set from Manuka Honey and Soul Foundation, plus a DJ set by Terry Hooley, who described Rab as a ‘legend’ when he came in.
Rab, who had a record deal with Warner Brothers and shared stages with names such as ACDC, Rory Gallagher and Van Morrison as well as opening for Jimi Hendrix, has also played with musicians from Cream, The Rolling Stones and even Amy Winehouse’s band over the last fifty years since he has been in the music business. He is renowned for holding the longest residency in Northern Ireland, with a 21 year stint at The Empire Music Hall in Belfast and he made front page news when Tim Robbins joined him on stage in 2008 for the inaugural Big River Blues Festival in Belfast.
As well as his local residency, he continues to play across Europe, headlining festivals and flying the flag for the Blues.
“I’m shocked.” Said Rab. “But I’m also really pleased to see so many friends and family here. I cant thank them enough for coming along and making the effort. And I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than enjoying my favourite music surrounded by all these people!”