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Ships release track ‘Ode To The Ward’ commissioned by the Source Arts Centre

Ships release track ‘Ode To The Ward’ commissioned by the Source Arts Centre


For Ships’ first song since their Choice Music Prize-winning album Precession in 2017, Sorca McGrath and Simon Cullen were commissioned by the Source Arts Centre in Thurles.

‘Ode to The Ward’ is a track inspired by the pair’s surroundings where they lived last summer in Swords and the Ward River Valley Park’s public space. It’s a gorgeous song of reflective string tones and McGrath’s unfolding vocals over crystalline synth tones.


“During Summer 2020, we were so fortunate to be living in Swords, North County Dublin, thanks to family who were enduring their lockdown in London, and we were on a road adjacent to the Ward River Valley Park.

We would walk the park daily and we hugely benefited from having access to a public space with such a vibrant ecosystem. This song began as a field recording from the Ward River, those birdsongs were some of the sweetest company. The river became a source of vibrancy to us as the country shut down. The river didn’t care one bit about the pandemic, it went on churning and turning and shaping the forms around it. We ended up writing the song like it was a kind of an ode to the river, a plea or wish to be taken back into its arms, the lyrics were born out of a call to the river to take us back to simpler times, back to the mud where we came from. Sometimes waking life felt harder than the dream of surrendering to the river.

It was, and remains to be, a genuinely concerning time for us. We have to become inventive and flexible in our thinking in how we might sustain our practice as live musicians, when a lot of what we did was in the context of large gatherings of people. In the meantime, we write and we have the river and we have enjoyed putting these two things together for this piece of music.”

See Also
Pretty Girl

Ships will be in conversation tonight at 8pm with the Source Arts Centre about the song and commission.

Register here via Zoom.

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