Tipperary songwriter Brendan pens Christmas collaboration to help educate Syrian children
Internationally renowned Tipperary songwriter and composer Brendan Graham has teamed up with Cavan singer Róisín O'Reilly to launch a charity single for Christmas.
The song, Hush Be Still, written by the duo, will raise funds to help educate Syrian children.
Having recorded and toured with choral group Anúna for many years, releasing her debut solo album – Love So Kindly (2003, Universal London) - spending considerable time working with Liam Lawton, and having even performed as a soloist in New York’s famed Carnegie Hall, Róisín has now stepped back into the spotlight. And this time, very much in her own right once again.
She hopes the release of Hush Be Still will prove to be a Christmas wish come true for Syrian refugee children.
Nenagh songwriter and composer Brendan Graham
Recalling the first time he heard Róisín sing, Brendan said: “Back in the day, I had been at a concert in London, where Róisín had sung Winter, Fire and Snow in an audience that included Maggie Thatcher, George Martin, Paco Pena, Hayley Westenra. Róisín completely stole the show and I had never forgotten the effect she had on an audience. So, when the opportunity to work with her again came about after hearing her sing at a funeral - well, it wasn’t even a decision to be made.”
The aim of Hush Be Still is to follow on from the success of Róisín's Christmas release last year, with her O Holy Night raising €49,500 to date for Syrian refugee children.
“My wish for this year,” said Róisin, "is that Hush Be Still will continue to raise funds that are much needed, and that we'll reach our goal of €60,000.”
Those funds will be used to support the school for “street children” in south Lebanon, established by Irish priest Fr William Stuart.
The school provides education for children displaced from their homeland by war, and who now live in the Tyre region of south Lebanon. The song was inspired by an experience Róisín had during Midnight Mass last Christmas Eve.
“At Mass, instead of a homily the priest asked the congregation to follow a meditation. We were asked to close our eyes and were vividly led to the stable. I remember the pure stillness in the church. Having been in lockdown most of the year, the words of American poet Madeleine L'Engle’s Into The Darkness came to mind, ‘...with no room on the earth, the stable is our heart’. It was an intimate graced moment and I was lost in it. The memory of that night stayed with me and I knew I wanted to honour it with a song,” she said.
Róisín was working on a project with Brendan Graham - the pen behind hits like Eurovision winners Rock & 'n' Roll Kids and The Voice, and, of course, You Raise Me Up - when she was planning Hush Be Still.
“Brendan is a gifted writer. He captures the essence of a story beautifully so I knew he was the person to write this song with me,” she said.
When the opportunity came about, Róisín asked Brendan to work with her on the song. He liked the idea behind it and agreed to collaborate.
“What intrigued me about Róisín’s idea was the potential to write what could be a straightforward lullaby to the Christ child - a Christmas carol - but a Christmas carol with a twist, a mystical twist. We all, to some extent, move between worlds, time shift in some mysterious, magical way and the song seeks to explores this possibility – of being actually there, in the stable at Bethlehem on that first Christmas and yet being in the ‘now’ of this Christmas,” said Brendan.
Hush Be Still by Brendan Graham and Róisín O'Reilly is available for download at www.roisinoreilly.com
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