Larne band reach UK final

Murray McDowell and Keni Brownlow, of "Odibal" have reached the final of the UK Songwriting contest. INLT 34-651-CON.
Murray McDowell and Keni Brownlow, of "Odibal" have reached the final of the UK Songwriting contest. INLT 34-651-CON.

Larne band “Odibal” has reached the final of the UK Songwriting contest.

“Odibal”, better known as Keni Brownlow and Murray McDowell were among the top 12 musicians in the international competition.

Murray said: “When we heard the quality of songs by some of the other finalists, we were amazed that we were among them.

“This is a really massive achievement for us, as the songs are judged by some top music industry professionals who have been in the business for many years.”

Their song “Far Away From Home” was among the top one per cent of more than 6000 entries in the acoustic/folk category.

Last year, “Odibal” reached the semi-final of the competition. This success encouraged them to submit this year’s entry from their debut album “Bringing it all back home”.

The highly-esteemed panel of judges included Sting’s producer and a director from big-name record label EMI.

Following their success, the band is enjoying airplay by online folk radio stations including one in the United States.

Murray says that there is also a possibility that the song may be included in a compilation of the most successful songs from the competition.

In the meantime, the duo has returned to the recording studio, this time in Stylux Industrial Estate to record a second album which is expected to be released in the autumn. and will be available at Head Records, Ann Street, Belfast.

“Odibal” got together eight years ago. For the first six years, they played cover versions but then decided to venture into their own original material.

Murray indicated that he has been writing music for years and released a solo album “Summer Moon” in 2011.

“Odibal’s” style has been described as “folk n roll”.

“Someone used that phrase to describe our music. It sums us up well. We are not just about dreary folk music.”

Murray is also a singer, guitarist and accordionist. Keni also sings, plays guitar and percussion. They will be joined for recording of the new album by fellow Larne musician Micky Gorman.

“Odibal” is in action locally on Sunday afternoons at the La Bodega where they play cover songs and their own material. They also have regular slots at other Larne pubs and further afield.

The successful song is available on Green China Records from Head Records, Belfast, on iTunes and Amazon and also from

To celebrate, “Far Away From Home” is available free of charge by downloading from