The Festival has always dreamed of having its own theme song.
A tune that helps to tell our story; reflect our creativity and honour the people we serve. We thought we could use a song at the start of events -online and inperson; use it on adverts and mini-films we make for celebration days, and innumberable other occasions where we want to make an impression when a logo, banner or speech isn’t the right thing…
The right time, the right place
In December, we were alerted to a new fund; a Creative Community Fund (#CreativeCommunity), organised by the Government of Ireland. The fund was specifically to assist artists who had suffered severe economic and creative hardship as a result of the pandemic, by commissioning them to produce a piece of work. A successful application has allowed us to directly fund seven artists, and share their work with you (listed below).
Behind the scenes
Ireland to Liverpool is one of the commissions we organised with this funding. In essence, we gave Andrew Connally the following brief:
“…[we are] imagining something with both a lyric based and instrumental version. It needs to be upbeat, but not ‘mad busy’, and contemporary enough to reflect our modern and progressive position… with that innate connection that makes it (and reveals it to be) ‘Liverpool Irish’.
Previously, for digital events, we’ve used a lovely, but quiet piece called The Pebble, by Pooka. It set a very gentle tone, which was lovely, calm and ‘bright’…but it was perhaps a little too gentle to activate people for an event! We are open to bravery and risk taking, but appropriate to the context; we have an ‘All Ireland’ approach and believe in tolerance towards diversity. Key work we focus on includes:
- Female visibility
- Irish migration and dual-heritagism
- Making connections
- Celebrating Irish influence, creativity and generations.
Our strapline -in case it can be used- is ‘bringing Liverpool and Ireland closer together using arts and culture’“.
The music and song
It’s quite a challenging brief, but Andrew is a miracle-worker and developed a bright, cheerful song, that reflects Irishness in Liverpool and our use of creative expression. Here is what he came back with:
Ireland to Liverpool – Lyrics
Memories of men who’ve seen,
a motherland they’ve dared to leave,
a dream on the horizon to chase.
A mother’s hands that carefully weave,
a new life, from her make-believe,
a city with a hope and warm embrace.
Welcome as we bring,
language, dance and songs to sing,
to celebrate a fondness of our past.
The future is for us to hold,
and cherish all the stories told,
each chapter penned a longing to surpass.
Ireland to Liverpool…
Generations hand-in-hand across the sea.
Home is where the heart is,
beating strong for all to hear.
(c) Andrew Connally, 2021.
The song was premiered at our Tony Birtill-Hidden History event on 4 Mar 2021; you can see that event here. We can’t wait to break it out in October 2021 for the first festival back in the ‘real world’. We’d like to thank Andrew for his commitment to the project and ability to translate our needs in to a finished piece that we are very proud of; thank you!
Andrew Connally biography
This commission was funded by the Irish Government‘s Emigrant Support Programme‘s creative community fund.
Since the onset of Covid-19, cultural organisations and artists have suffered a lack of creative opportunities because of restrictions on arts venues and engagements. #CreativeCommunity is a once-off initiative by the Embassy of Ireland to Great Britain, the Consulate General of Ireland (Cardiff), and the Consulate General of Ireland (Edinburgh) that provided creative opportunities for Irish artists living in Britain to produce cultural content, shared online. Through Creative Community, the Embassy of Ireland in London and the Consulates General in Edinburgh and Cardiff have supported arts and culture-focused projects with eight organisations, directly engaging with at least 40 Irish creatives across Britain to produce and show their work.
The artists Liverpool Irish Festival has commissioned using this programme, include: Cathy Carter / Andrew Connally / Edy Fung (via Art Arcadia) / Alison Little / Maz O’Connor / Ciara Ní É / The Sound Agents. The links will take you to the individual commissions.