A new video of Brendan Graham’s achingly beautiful song Orphan Girl sung by the UCD Choral Scholars and soloist Abby Molloy and directed/arranged by Desmond Earley
Shot in Westport, Co. Mayo (the beauty of the landscape is incredible!) it is sung from the perspective of one of Ireland’s famine orphans, on the eve of her inspection, which would decide whether she could travel to Australia, to escape the workhouse which had become her life.
Orphan Girl was written by Brendan Graham for a the Annual Great Famine Commemoration ceremony held in 2012 at Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks to commemorate the relocation of over four thousand female orphans who, between 1848 and 1850, were brought from Ireland during the Great Famine of the 1840s. An Orphan & Pauper Scheme was devised by Henry George Earl Grey during his time as British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies (1846-1852) and was designed to resettle destitute girls from the failing network of workhouses in Ireland to a land in much need of females.
Graham wrote the song to ‘help fade the girls into history’. The names of some of the girls are etched into a glass wall memorial, now standing in Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks, World Heritage Site. Orphan Girl was first performed by the Australian Girls’ Choir and Sarah Calderwood at the 2012 ceremony. It is reliably estimated that today, up to two million Australians are descended from the original 4,112 Irish Orphan Girls, who found a new life in Australia in the years of Ireland’s Great Calamity.
The UCD Choral Scholars are Ireland’s leading collegiate chamber choir. This track is available on their debut international recording on Signum Records. Entitled Invisible Stars, it is an enchanting collection of traditional and contemporary choral music from Ireland and Scotland and features arrangements and compositions by some of Ireland’s most celebrated composers. The album can be purchased via the following link: http://hyperurl.co/InvisibleStars
Published on 26 October 2016