On Thursday 18th of June, thirty nine Irish female artists formed Irish Women in Harmony to release a single in aid of the charity SAFE Ireland. They joined together to record a cover of The Cranberries’ hit song Dreams. This project came around after reports from An Garda Síochána that domestic violence in Ireland has risen 20% since the beginning of the COVID-19 global health crisis. The song topped the Irish charts and recieved two million views in two days.
The collaboration has also opened the conversation about female representation in the Irish music industry. Organiser and producer, RuthAnne took to her social media to say how proud she was to create this union, saying; “We felt it was time to raise our voices together in unity as the women in music from Ireland and come together to support the domestic abuse victims & survivors.”
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Irish Women in Harmony ‘Dreams’ coming this Thursday 18th June in support of @safeireland #womensupportingwomen I am so excited to announce this. About a month ago I starting dm-ing Irish female artists & wanted to get a group of us together to do something special, remotely but together in spirit and before I knew it we had 32 Irish female artists & 7 Irish female musicians covering an iconic Irish song by legends @thecranberries #dreams and I produced it. From some of the female trailblazers in Irish music to the emerging female artists from this country. Go follow our brand new community @irishwomeninharmony for Irish female creatives & join us cos I know there are so many more out there & this is just the beginning. We felt it was time to raise our voices together in unity as the women in music from Ireland and come together to support the domestic abuse victims & survivors. During lockdown home has been our safe place but for so many home is a hostile, dangerous and violent environment with domestic abuse rates raising 25% since lockdown and we have to help. All proceeds from this song are going to @safeireland. You can swipe to presave the single now in my bio. Can’t wait for you to hear it. Stay tuned for premiere details. To donate €4 now text SAFE to 50300. Shoutout to @rionagh & @catherineroyle from @mcdproductions for this beautiful artwork!!
Contributer and singer-songwriter Stephaine Rainey spoke to Hot Press to say how in Ireland female artists are usually pitted against each other so this song shows the unity that should exist in the industry.“We need more Irish women headlining the 3Arena. There is absolutely no reason why it can’t happen.” She went on to say “Every other country is producing female superstars – when did Ireland stop doing that? There is so much talent – it just needs focus. We need support.”
Music duo Morgan McIntyre and Gemma Doherty, better known as Saint Sister, also talked to Hot Press and highlighted their experiences, saying; “It’s a shame we still have to shout for women’s voices and their instruments to be heard and recognised.” They went on to say how powerful media representation is and how we need to amplify female voices to achieve gender equality in music.
Other contributers to the song have spoken out on social media about their own anger, and about how they feel left behind by the Irish music industry as a whole. Singer-songwriter Orla Gartland quote tweeted a playlist from Eirewave.ie on the 22nd of May. Eirewave is an online only radio station which aims to play exclusively Irish artists. The playlist detailed the top played Irish music, which did not have a single female artist on it and said “hi just wondering if anyone at @eirewave has ever met or heard of a woman before.”
Following the release of the song, Gartland posted to Instagram saying: “growing up in Ireland there were so few female musicians on Irish radio & TV, billed at gigs and festivals.. it’s hard to imagine yourself doing a job when you don’t see or hear others that look like you.”
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As the conversation continues, it will be interesting to see the response from the big names in the Irish music industry and what we can do going forward to support Irish female voices.
Check out the Irish Women in Harmony’s cover of The Cranberries’ Dreams in aid of SAFE Ireland below. SAFE works to save women and children from domestic violence in Ireland.