During lockdown, a group of people from Sailortown and beyond came together with artist and musician Ruth Clinton to form a digital choir and sing the song The Shipyard Slips (David Wilde 1977). More info here. The song is about the decline of the Belfast shipyards and details the hardships and historical events in the area. It references loss and longing for something, a narrative that resonates both with the history of Sailortown and the present day. We held an audio installation of the work in the historic setting of Sinclair Seamen’s church in September 2021.
The audio recording consisted of 22 ghostly voices routed across 6 channels over 6 speakers, which were spread across the 2 stereo channels to give a sense of space.
Many thanks to the participants who took part in the digital choir version in 2020. Michaela Badr, Sighle Bhreathnach-Cashell, John D’Arcy, Emily Dedakis, Elen Flugge, Meabh Meir, Aisling McCormick, Nollaig Molloy, Hanna Slattne.
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. Ruth’s research explores the inevitability of progress and moving forward, the impossibility of going backwards, and questions the role nostalgia plays in the oscillation between these states.
HIVE Choir is a vocal ensemble based in Belfast. Inheriting its membership and ethos from recent experimental choral projects in the city (Bird on a Wire and Belfast City Choir), HIVE is a testing ground for alternative musical notation, text scores vocal improvisation and sound games. Under the direction of John D’Arcy, HIVE creates music from found text and often uses verbal notation and audio technologies, inviting participation from non-expert performers and audience members. Formed in 2017, HIVE has worked with Metropolitan Arts Centre Belfast, Belfast Film Festival, Belfast Book Festival, Moving on Music, PS2 gallery, Irish Sound Science and Technology Association, and were ‘Artists in Resonance’ at Open House Belfast 2018.
Thanks to our partners Daisy Chain Inc and our funders Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Belfast City Council, & Arts Council Northern Ireland.
Photography by Simon Mills