30 Nov 2021

Busy year for Nenagh songwriter Brendan

Busy year for Nenagh songwriter Brendan

Nenagh songwriter and composer Brendan Graham has spoken of his delight at having two tracks on the debut album by UCD Choral Scholars, Invisible Stars.

One of those tracks is the hauntingly beautiful Orphan Girl, which Brendan wrote for Annual Great Famine Commemoration ceremony held in 2012 in Sydney to commemorate the relocation of over 4,000 female orphans who, between 1848 and 1850, were brought from Ireland during the Great Famine.

The song is related to Brendan's novel, The Whitest Flower, the other parts of which are The Element of Fire and The Brightest Day, the Darkest Night, which have all been republished this year by HarperCollins.

“When I originally wrote Orphan Girl, the Australian Girls Choir had agreed to perform it with soloist Sarah Calderwood. I approached Des Earley, artistic director of the UCD Choral Scholars, who were already performing Sleepsong to do the arrangemen, and it was so subtle and beautiful what Des did.

“When it was performed at Sydney's Commemoration, it was such a moving occasion. On the glass wall of the memorial behind from where I was speaking and the song being performed, were the names of some 400 of those original orphan girls who came to Sydney on the Earl Grey. Then, people held up old faded photographs of their own orphan girl. They were descendants, It was one of those moments in life, which I will never forget,” Brendan told the Tipperary Star.

“I just love what Des and the Scholars have done, and Abby Molloy's stunningly beautiful voice and sense of innocence which she brings to her delivery, would melt any heart. It is such an honour to have this song - and Sleepsong, with soloist Emily Doyle - recorded with such beauty and to be included on the album,” he said.

It is a busy time for Brendan, who has four songs on Sean Keane upcoming album New Day Dawning.

Secret Garden’s Live in Kilden – 20th Anniversary Concert DVD is also due, and has new arrangements for orchestra and seven of the songs which Brendan and his long-time collaborator, Rolf Lovland wrote for the group.

And he has contributed to four songs on the latest Celtic Woman CD, due out in November.

On top of all that, You Raise Me Up features in Gerry Hanberry's book, On Raglan Road - Great Irish Love Songs, and last week, the College of Charleston in South Carolin, had a module on the Department of Anthropology and Sociology course - Peoples and Cultures of Ireland, featuring what can be best described as a medley of Brenda's songwriting, compositions and writings.

“Thankfully, it’s been another busy year, and people are still singing songs,” he said


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