The latest Wild Atlantic Women collaboration featuring 54 female artists from Arranmore to Antrim is an absolute joy.
Their version of Ghleanntain Ghlas Gaoth Dobhair / Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore showcases the wealth of talent among Ulster’s female vocalists, musicians and performers. And it is also a wonderful series of snapshots of the wild and rugged landscape that inspires so much passion and creativity amongst its people.
The woman at the helm of this remarkable project is Brí Carr who was very busy in the local arts scene until Covid-19 hit our shores.
“Everything closed down on me, it just stopped,” she said.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Ms Carr responded to the first lockdown by co-ordinating the stunning version of The Homes of Donegal. The Wild Atlantic Women collaboration was viewed close to 200,000 times around the world.
She has certainly struck a chord with people home and abroad with this latest project, and is immensely proud of the 54 people of all ages who took part.
“We are all ordinary women,” she said. “This is something that we have done that will always be there.
“It has brought us all closer together. There are girls I would have known of, or been colleagues with and now we are brilliant friends.
“One of the really nice things about it, and something that people comment on, is the mix of ages in it.”
One aspect of the 10-minute video that really shines through is the enthusiasm of performers in showing off their localities.
“Pride of place is a big part of it,” said Ms Carr. “That is a big part of what Wild Atlantic Women is about.”
She is keen to thank the photographers and videographers who shared scenery images and footage from across Donegal.
Another element that makes this collaboration really special is the joy of music and performance that exudes from all the women and girls taking part.
“Those girls treated each line as if it was gold dust,” said Ms Carr.
“There are people involved who are first time solo performers and people who are established. They each gave their time and gave it their all.”
One particularly poignant moment is the line sung by Niamh Breslin.
“She is one of the original six Wild Atlantic Women,” said Ms Carr. “She is in Liverpool and when she heard what we were doing, she said that she would love to have been involved. I assured her that she could still join us. She went to the docks in Liverpool and that really made it work with the line in the song.”
This aspect of the collaboration represented the many Donegal people who have made their lives elsewhere in the world.
Ms Carr also made sure to showcase the musicians in the video.
“These are the women who are always giving it their all from behind, they are backing everybody else. It is nice to see them get acknowledgement.”
Needless to say, there was a huge amount of work involved in planning the project and putting it all together.
A real labour of love, Ms Carr jokingly compares it to childbirth.
“First you have the pregnancy, then you give birth,” she said. “But the baby at the end makes it all worth it.
“This is something that everyone involved can be very proud of.”
The Ghleanntain Ghlas Gaoth Dobhair / Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore video is well worth a watch - and a share with family and friends around the world. It can be seen on the Wild Atlantic Women Facebook page and YouTube channel.
As well as featuring women from Donegal, there were six Northern Ireland performers representing each of the six counties.
“This was our Ulster collaboration,” said Ms Carr. “I would really love to do an All-Ireland version next, led by the Donegal women and with someone from each of the 32 counties.
“It would be really great if we could get Failte Ireland to collaborate.”
Indeed, what better way to show the magic of Irish culture, the passion of her people and the beauty of the landscape to the rest of the world?
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