Westmeath County Council-Westmeath Artists’ Award Scheme 2021
Emper NS pupils launch their song to St. Brigid, the Patron Saint of Emper. The song commemorates St. Brigid’s life in song, story & drama. It is fitting that today the 1st February, the feast day of Muire na nGael, we launch the special song in her honour. The song was co-written by Moyra Fraser and Brigid Walshe (RIP). This collaborative project and song is dedicated to the memory of Brigid Walsh now sadly deceased. Brigid was a wonderfully talented poet and lyricist.
The co-operative art project was led by the multi-talented singer, song writer, music teacher, musical artist and director Moyra Fraser. It was part-funded by Westmeath County Council and the Westmeath Artists’ Award 2021. This grant was used to fund the artist’s writing of a song and accompaniment, with a suite of local traditional tunes and all ancillary works associated with the project. The work was recorded professionally in a recording studio and our Emper NS school hall (Fitzsimons’ Hall). The song and the drama accompanying the song will be formally released at a date and time, as soon as the restrictions lift.
Moyra composed the lyrics with Brigid and the accompanying music for this project was composed at Ballyboy Recordings, Walshestown, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Following lengthy reviews and fine-tuning Moyra, an accomplished musical director arranged for the professional printing of the lyrics and accompanying musical arrangements for guitar, keyboard, percussion, orchestra, vocals and school choir.
The professional sound engineer, Cliff Gorange set up all technical and recording support systems necessary for the recording of the song and musical suite. He ensured all aspects of sound are to a very high professional musical standard. A drama to accompany the audio of “St. Brigid” has been co-ordinated by Moyra and the staff of Emper N.S. It will be shared with all families and played at the official launch. The production of the video of the drama was expertly organised by Don Mortell. Pupils acted out, in traditional costumes various scenes from the song. The video of the project will be shared with all our families, media, Westmeath County Council and Twitter etc.
Emper NS pupils and staff have been very fortunate to participate in this worthwhile collaborative project. Moyra is a pleasure to work with; a true professional music songwriter, arranger and producer. We look forward to the official launch of our song when complete and indeed to our next project with Moyra.
Click to listen -
“St. Brigid, our Patron Saint” by Moyra Fraser and Brigid Walshe
From the shore of Portugal the long boat ran,
From a pirate’s plunder the story began.
A Christian girl was taken slave,
To Leinster’s Dubhach a daughter she gave.
In a Dundalk room by a pagan fire,
with melodies played on harp and lyre.
The Chieftain held an infant up high,
gave the name of Brigid as she took the first cry.
Of Brigid we sing, our Mhuire na nGael,
in Emper school we will tell you her tale.
We take her name and sing with pride,
Of our patron saint, our love we don’t hide.
From rushes green her cross we weave,
In St. Brigid’s strength we truly believe.
On the first night of February she’ll pass our way,
leaving peace and blessings on her holy day.
The child and slave she toiled home and field,
Her mother’s great faith she would never yield.
St. Patrick she heard when of God he’d preach,
She vowed to all, his kindness she’d teach.
With glorious face much sought as a bride,
To God she prayed for her beauty to hide.
God heard her cries, and she became plain,
Then no further use to her father she became.
To the King of Leinster she was to be sold,
Her worth was surely a weight of gold.
A jewelled dagger from father’s sheath,
She stole for a beggar his needs to meet.
The miracle of Brigid the king could see,
To be free from slavery she must be.
From Dundalk she left to find a home in Kildare,
Where the teachings of Christ she could lovingly share.
A parcel of land her father would bestow,
But only as far as her cloak she could throw.
Her cloak lilke a cloud covered the land,
Kildare and the Curragh she now held in her hand.
To Monks and to Novices she sent out a call,
A true love of learning giving to all,
Abbess to many she taught knowledge and prayer,
In Abbey and School Saint Brigid is there.