Irish Praise Songs of Praise


Irish Praise

The Celtic Tenors, Robin Mark and Anuna guest in this musical celebration of hymns and songs by Irish composers from the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.


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Transcript


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This is the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. This wonderful venue

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has hosted musicians and singers from all over the world.

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But Ireland has had its own fair share of home-grown talent too,

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and it's not just a recent thing.

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There's a long tradition of songwriting links that go

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back hundreds of years and include the men

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and women responsible for writing some of our best-known hymns today.

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So, join us now, along with local choirs and congregations,

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to celebrate the songs of Irish hymn-writers past and present.

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Choirs and congregations from Belfast and beyond

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join the Ulster Orchestra for an evening of praise.

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As well as glorious hymn singing, stand by for the Celtic Tenors,

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with an inspirational song made famous

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by Brian Kennedy and Westlife.

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Irish choral group, Anuna, sing a beautiful version of Pie Jesu,

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and worship leader Robin Mark

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introduces us to a brand-new song of praise.

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You're very welcome to the Waterfront Hall here in Belfast.

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We have the pleasure of being led by the Ulster Orchestra

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and our Songs Of Praise conductor, Paul Leddington Wright.

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APPLAUSE

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Now, Ireland has inspired many songwriters over the years,

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including the writer of our first hymn.

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Henry Francis Lyte was a pupil at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen

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before going on to study for the church ministry

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at Trinity College, Dublin.

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He penned many notable hymns,

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including the much-loved Abide With Me,

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and the hymn that we are about to sing,

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Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven.

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Now, a truly inspirational song, You Raise Me Up.

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It was a huge international hit.

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It's been performed by many people,

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such as Josh Grogan, Westlife, Daniel O'Donnell,

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even Aled Jones, and it's one of the favourites

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of our first musical guests, The Celtic Tenors.

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There's something very Irish about the feel of the song itself.

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And of course, Brendan Graham wrote the song.

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It's a song, Matthew,

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that will either raise you up or bring you down.

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It can be about a parent, it can be about the people who raised you,

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it can be somebody who you turn to in times of trouble, like God.

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For me, it's a prayer, more than anything else.

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Darren, what reaction do you get when you perform You Raise Me Up?

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You know, You Raise Me Up is one of those songs.

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Recently, we were on tour with the orchestra in China,

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and of course we did our normal set,

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but the minute that we stood up and sang You Raise Me Up,

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everybody was on their feet. It just seemed to have that reaction.

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There's strong echoes of Danny Boy, that rising phrase.

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There's something about that phrase that I think is also

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a vehicle that goes straight to the heart.

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And James, what about you guys as performers?

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What angle or what twist do you feel that you bring to your rendition?

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The song for me took on a whole new meaning whilst in Kenya.

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I work with AIDS orphans every year as part of a building team,

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but also do music with them, and this song stood out

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because of the words, the lyrics, they took on a whole new meaning.

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"You raise me up to more than I can be."

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# When I am down

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# And oh, my soul so weary

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# When troubles come And my heart burdened be

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# And I am still And wait here in the silence

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# Until you come and sit awhile with me

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# You raise me up So I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up To walk on stormy seas

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# And I am strong When I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be

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# When I am down And oh my soul

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# So weary

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# When troubles come And my heart burdened be

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# And I am still And wait here in the silence

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# Until you come and sit awhile with me

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# You raise me up So I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up To walk on stormy seas

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# And I am strong When I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up To more than I can be

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# There is no life No life without its hunger

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# Each restless heart beats so imperfectly

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# But when you come And I am filled with wonder

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# Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity

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# You raise me up So I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up to walk on stormy seas

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# And I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up To more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be. #

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APPLAUSE

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The origin of our next hymn goes back more than 150 years.

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Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander lived in Londonderry,

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and she had a passion for teaching religion to young people.

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Now, she did this through composing poems and songs,

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and she later published a book called Hymns For Little Children.

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What she did was, she wrote over 400 hymns,

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including There's A Green Hill Far Away,

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Once In Royal David's City, and the one that we're about to sing,

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All Things Bright And Beautiful.

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So, from one of Ireland's writers from the past

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to one of today's hymn-writers,

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Keith Getty, a composer from Lisburn,

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and he's been playing music since he was 10.

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He's written some of today's best-known hymns

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and songs that are sung all over the world.

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In 2001, he collaborated with fellow songwriter Stewart Townsend

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to produce one of our most popular contemporary hymns, In Christ Alone.

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Worship songs like In Christ Alone have become increasingly popular

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in a wide variety of churches.

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Singer-songwriter Robin Mark, who's from Belfast, has written

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a number of songs that are sung in Ireland and beyond.

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It's just been a blessing that stuff that I've written here

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and stuff that's been written in this place has actually gone out

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to all the ends of the Earth.

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The message that you put out there,

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where do you get your inspiration from?

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Anybody of my age, my vintage, if you like,

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has grown up through the troubled years and seen, you know,

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aspects of grace and love against wickedness and evil

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and all that. That's an inspiration, I think, for anyone and, for me,

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a lot of the songs have come out of those experiences.

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When you look at a congregation coming together,

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what difference does music make to worship?

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I think Belfast is a place where music brings people together

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and the worship, their attitude of worship,

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in other words singing praises to the God that they serve and love,

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that takes their focus away from the differences.

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You're going to perform one of your own songs called You Said.

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What is the story behind that?

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The words that it uses were based on some thoughts

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that a friend of mine was sharing with me

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and it's simply this,

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that Christ spoke the greatest words of hope and comfort

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and promise for the future in the darkest situations

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when he was on the Earth. When he was at funerals, that's when he said,

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"I am the resurrection and the life."

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When he was at the death of a friend, he said,

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"Any man that believes in me will not perish

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"and even if he does die, he'll live for ever."

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# This world is broken

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# A ship with no anchor

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# Sailing through space

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# Always unchartered waters

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# Yet we seem to know

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# Where we want to go

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# But we don't know why we're here

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# Millions get lost in their own little journey

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# Some only stay

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# For a few passing moments

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# And the only thing

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# That we know for sure

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# Is some day, our journey ends

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# But you said you are

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# The resurrection and the life

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# And whoever believes in you will never die

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# You are the way

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# You are the truth

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# You are the life

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# Everlasting

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# You are the light

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# You are the word

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# You are the Son

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# Of the Father

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# You said you are

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# The resurrection

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# And the life

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# You said you are

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# The resurrection

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# And the life. #

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APPLAUSE

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The writer of our next hymn was born back in 1819,

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just 25 miles from here in the town of Banbridge, and it was there

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where Joseph Scriven met his sweetheart and soon proposed.

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However, in a tragic accident

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the night before they were to be wed, his fiancee fell from a horse

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and was drowned in the River Bann.

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Brokenhearted, Joseph left for Canada, but grief would follow him.

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After falling in love again, his new fiancee took sick

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and died from pneumonia before they could marry.

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Joseph then received the terrible news that his mother was also

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gravely ill in Ireland.

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Unable to return to visit her,

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he wrote her the comforting words of our next hymn.

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Traditional Irish music and dance experienced a revival with

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the worldwide success of Riverdance at the Eurovision Song Contest.

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That was back in 1994.

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Irish choral group Anuna were part of that phenomenon

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with their distinctive harmonies.

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Today, their repertoire includes reworked ancient Irish songs

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as well as newly composed material by their leader, Michael McGlynn.

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I think one of the things that always attracted me to Celtic music,

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and Irish music in general, was this need for grounding

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and place of origin.

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Does it make a difference performing Pie Jesu

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to a Belfast audience?

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I wrote Pie Jesu in 1998 after hearing about the Omagh bombing,

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which was so horrific, and what I wrote reflects...

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I think, all that we can hope to achieve from prayer.

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You can cry and you can scream,

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but I wanted something which was completely reflective.

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This piece begins very quietly and then it builds to a cry

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and then it fades away to something very simple and extremely human.

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I think to perform the Pie Jesu here in the Waterfront Hall,

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um, particularly at a time when there is stability and, while there

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are always going to be problems in the world, we have peace here.

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And this piece, I think, makes us remember how hard won that peace was.

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# Pie Jesu Domine

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# Dona eis

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# Requiem

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# Dona eis

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# Requiem

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# Pie Jesu

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# Domine

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# Dona eis

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# Requiem

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# Dona eis

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# Requiem

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# Pie Jesu

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# Domine

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# Dona eis

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# Requiem

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# Dona eis

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# Requiem

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# Dona eis requiem

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# Dona eis requiem

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# Dona eis requiem. #

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Thank you, Anuna.

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As we say goodbye from the Waterfront Hall, thank you to all

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of our guests, the Celtic tenors, Robin Mark and, of course, Anuna.

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Thank you also to the Ulster Orchestra.

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We finish with Look, Ye Saints.

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Though you won't associate the tune with Ireland,

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the words are over 200 years old and they were penned by an Irishman,

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Thomas Kelly of Dublin.

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But from everyone here in Belfast, thank you for watching. Bye-bye.

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Next week, Sally visits the Scottish town that has become

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synonymous with the world-famous Paisley pattern.

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She tries her hand at curling and introduces hymns

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and performances from the majestic setting of Paisley Abbey,

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celebrating its 850th anniversary.

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Subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing by Red Bee Media Ltd

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The Celtic Tenors, Robin Mark and Anuna guest in this musical celebration of hymns and songs by Irish composers from the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, led by the Ulster Orchestra and introduced by Eamonn Holmes.


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