Household and artist Ruth Clinton, invited a small group to take part in a singing workshop in the cosy top floor of The American Bar. Ruth led the group in singing two songs; The Shipyard Slips by David Wilde (1977) and Farewell to Fiunary by Norman MacLeod (19th century). These songs explored fractured histories of place, representing the polyvocal nature of this historic Belfast area.
This workshop coincided with the audio installation of The Shipyard Slips at Sinclair Seamen’s church, developed by Ruth Clinton, HIVE Choir and various digital participants. More here.
About Ruth Clinton
Ruth Clinton is an artist and musician living in Co. Sligo. She is co-founder of the Sacred Harp Singers in Dublin and is a member of traditional singing group Landless. Ruth also works as a collaborative duo with artist Niamh Moriarty using performance, video, sound installation and storytelling, along with a detailed research process, to convey visions of transience and resistance.
Photography by Simon Mills
The Shipyard Slips (David Wilde 1977) From Belfast town I'm on my way On a ship that was built for the tourist trade I leave behind the land where I was born And I won't return till my fortune is made Chorus: For I've served my time with the Island men And I've known good times and work in plenty But there's no work now in these troubled times For the shipyard slips they're lying empty Farewell to my father and my mother fair Old age has laid its hand upon you You've loved me well and never failed And it's leaving your side my heart will rue. (chorus) I've promised to write when I've settled down To ease your mind for I know you'll worry Just think of the time when I'll return But don't count the days for time won't hurry (chorus) I'll remember the hills and the fresh north air I'll remember the girls with their friendly smiles I'll think of the friends I love so dear, And I hope my love transcends the miles. (chorus) And I'm leaving the land where I was born But I long for the day of my returning To a job, a home and peace of mind For the Belfast people I'll always be yearning (chorus)
Farewell to Fiunary Written by Norman MacLeod in the 19th century about the Highland Clearances The wind is fair, the day is fine And swiftly, swiftly goes the time The boat is waiting on the tide To waft me far from Fiunary. Chorus We must up and haste away, We must up and haste away, We must up and haste away, Farewell, farewell to Fiunary. A thousand, thousand tender ties Wake within my mournful sighs My heart within me almost dies At thoughts of leaving Fiunary. Chorus As I leave these happy vales See them spread their flapping sails Adieu, adieu my native dales Farewell, farewell to Fiunary. Chorus
Thanks to our partners Daisy Chain Inc and our funders Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Belfast City Council, & Arts Council Northern Ireland.