Emer Kenny releases ‘Bright Star’

Composer and harper Emer Kenny has released the song ‘Bright Star’, inspired by the stories of Ukrainian women who fled the war in Ukraine and are now living in Dundalk. Emer developed this project during her time as musician in residence in An Táin Theatre Dundalk. The song was recorded with producer and engineer John Murphy, capturing Emer’s distinctive harp playing and emotional vocal performance. The video for Bright Star features contemporary dancer Polina from Donetsk and also harpist Rosie Murphy, John and Emer’s daughter, performing in An Táin Theatre. Iryna, Yara and Maryna from conflict zones in Ukraine who shared their stories with Emer, feature as audience members in the video. The video also includes frontline footage from Ukraine, filmed by the video director, Finn Boylan who is a documentary film maker in areas of conflict globally.

Maria Starukh from ‘The Association of Ukrainians in Ireland’ has described the work as
‘very inspirational and thought-provoking. By sharing this inspirational piece widely it will have significant educational potential in terms of telling Ukraine’s storythrough music.’

Emer Kenny started playing the harp at the age of nine and studied classical harp and composition in the DIT, Dublin and Trinity College of Music, London. She developed a distinctive style of harp playing and of writing and arranging music. She signed to Warner Chappell publishing in London and Mercury Polygram, Gold Circle, and Artemis records in the USA releasing three critically acclaimed albums. Her music has been synced to US films and TV series, including Disney’s environmental film Sacred Planet and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Third Miracle. This is Emer’s second socially engaged project working wth survivors of conflict. The first being Ghosts a musical work commissioned by the Derry Playhouse and their project partner Queen’s University, based on the testimonies of survivors of the Troubles. In September 2019 Ghosts was one of the artistic works featured in an extended international online conference Art in a Place of Conflict. The song was recorded by the Ulster Orchestra in the Waterfront, Belfast in 2020 for their album ‘Our Songs, Our Place’.In 2023 Emer was musician-in-residence in An Táin Theatre, Dundalk. It was during this time that she researched and developed the creative possibilities of writing music based on the testimonies of Ukrainian women who had fled the war and were now living in Dundalk.