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Comrade Hat

Experimental // Derry, Derry // he/him

Comrade Hat is the songwriting arm of Derry-based multi-instrumentalist/composer Neil Burns. With a background in Classical composition and jazz, a large back catalogue spans acoustic, electronic & experimental work. Steadily building a cult following, he has found critical acclaim for his music, which is equal parts lounge lizard, soul-searching balladeer and cosmic adventurer.

Comrade Hat has featured regularly on national radio, North and South, with live appearances as far away as Canada at Canadian Music Week, while sharing bills with the likes of O Emperor, the Bonk, Robocobra Quartet and, recently, Myles Manley at home. He was invited to perform with a string quartet at the 2019 Toronto Summer Music Festival, has collaborated with Phil Kieran and the Ulster Orchestra (2018) and artists including cult Canadian guitarist/songwriter Thom Gill (Bernice, Martha Wainwright, Knower, Chaka Khan).

His recent, ambitious Old Gods project, effectively a double album, saw him gain a nomination for the NI Music Prize as well as considerable acclaim.


"...a pastoral, pleasingly woozy collection of songs which run the gamut from psychedelic folk to expansive jazzy pop funk and daisy-age disco" Irish News

"Burns...won’t relegate himself to one central theme. Instead he acts as a yggdrasill between tracks, a conduit from which an emotive, shifting landscape moves through, from pen to instrument... a psychedelic ring master in a circus of oddities" Chordblossom

"A miasmic fog of psychedelic rock, indie-folk and jazzy blues, Comrade Hat is a do-it-all kind of artist. A multi-instrumentalist with a flair for the surprising, his newest album keeps you on your toes from start to finish" Northern Winds

"wouldn’t be out of place in a David Lynch film"

"draws upon the familiar sounds of confessional, lonesome Americana, mystique, and glistening, low-key-yet-expansive 80s-recalling spectral echoes" The Thin Air

"a drippy slice of hazed nostalgia in the form of a song" Nialler9

"uniquely dreamlike" The Thin Air

"An incredibly fresh approach to songwriting...surreality but intense beauty"
Stephen McCauley, BBC Radio Foyle

"a cool slice of after-dark jazz pop... The glass-smooth production shimmers
with the essence of ‘80s yacht rock, albeit with a modern soft-focus
feeling...utterly fresh throughout and not a hint of ungainly irony." Across the
Line (BBC Radio Ulster)

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