Dublin-based Ukrainian woman records Phil Coulter single

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

A National Ukrainian Choir, has collaborated with singer Phil Coulter to release a new version of his single, Steal Away.

The choir is made up of 40 people, including singer Anhelina Shvets, from Fingal, who fled Ukraine due to the ongoing war.

The single, which has been translated into Ukrainian, was launched at a special event in Saint Stephen’s Church, Dublin, last week, where the choir performed with Phil Coulter.

Originally written by Phil Coulter 40 years ago, the song tells the story of a couple who escape from the Troubles.

“When I wrote Steal Away in 1983 the song was in response to the conflict that was happening in Northern Ireland at the time,” said Mr Coulter.  

“I couldn’t have imagined that 40 years later it would have a connection to the situation facing Ukrainians today.”

The song will be available for download via Spotify and a documentary about the lead-up to the launch will also be released in coming months.

“I have travelled all over the world with my music and have seen how it can cross borders and create friendships as a universal language.

“It has been an honour to work on the recording of this single. I hope that the initiative has provided a source of unity and has given the choir some semblance of hope for a brighter future,” added the singer. 

Speaking at the launch of Steal Away, Adeline O’Brien, CEO at Empower, local development company for Fingal, said: “Steal Away has shown us firsthand how instrumental music and song can be in uniting communities.

“The lyrics of the song are just as powerful today as they were in 1983 when the song was originally released.

“The choir has provided a safe space for those fleeing the war in Ukraine to express themselves, to find friendship, to seek out new opportunities and to learn English.”

The choir project was set up by Terry Hyland, CEO of Cavan County Local Development, Adeline O’Brien CEO of Empower, Fingal’s local development company and Michelle Mullally Programme, Impact and Communications Officer of ILDN. 

The choir director and song translator, Yulia Boyko, is originally from Ukraine and has been living in Cavan for the last twenty years.

She now runs her own music school and has been working alongside Phil Coulter and the 40-strong choir since April.


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