- 09 Dec 21
Ireland will create a new world record this evening when a remarkable 148 countries participate in the Expo World Choir in Dubai. The choir – conducted by David Brophy – is an Irish initiative, putting the theme of Ireland’s participation at the event, ‘Putting Creativity at the Centre of the Human Experience’, into living practice...
Ireland’s presence at Expo 2020, currently running in Dubai, is set to hit another high note tonight. That’s when the Expo World Choir – a remarkable Irish initiative, which sees participants from many of the participating nations join together in a specially created choir – hits the stage.
The choir is conducted by David Brophy, who is best know for his work creating the Homeless Choir, who recorded a hit version of Kodaline’s ‘High Hopes’. David is renowned for creating special choirs where everyone is welcome, no prior singing experience required. The special twist at Expo is that the Expo Global Choir will be singing songs from the Irish Songbook, curated by Hot Press editor Niall Stokes and Gary Sheehan of the National Concert Hall. Among the songs are 'One' and 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' by U2 (pictured).
The Expo World Choir is a signature event for Ireland at Expo, and brings together a huge multicultural ‘one night only’ choir drawn from Expo’s participating countries, local schools, Irish teachers, the Irish community in the UAE, and Dubai residents.
This unique project has had registrations from 148 countries to date and is an expression of Ireland's Expo theme of ‘Putting Creativity at the Centre of the Human Experience’. The number of countries registered to participate already surpasses the previous world record of most nationalities to sing in a choir, which stood at 105!
Speaking ahead of the Expo World Choir performance, the Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, T.D. expressed his pride in this unique achievement.
“Expo World Choir embodies the best of Irish creativity. This ambitious project is a cornerstone of Ireland’s participation at Expo and represents Ireland’s ambition to be a unifying force in the global community – in this case, assembling 150 countries at Expo to sing together for one night. This project with the National Concert Hall showcases all forms of Irish talent, including that of our Irish diaspora in the UAE. I wish to thank this vibrant community for their active engagement and support and congratulate all of the performers involved in this exciting To Be Irish project.”
"It is going to be an INCREDIBLE gig,” one insider told Hot Press. "The arrangements by David Brophy are absolutely stunning. People are totally blown away by the whole thing.”
The concert is being filmed, and Hot Press understands that Virgin Media Television will showcase it as a special Christmas concert.
The Expo World Choir’s opening song is 'Slán le Maigh‘ – the lament of a dissolute Irish man who has been driven away from the one he loves. This will be followed by 'An Poc ar Buile' – the first Irish-language pop hit, as sung by Sean Ó Sé, with Ceoltóirí Chualann, in 1962. The only 'non-Irish’ song to be featured is 'Nothing Compares 2U’, which was written by Prince – but which many feel Sinéad O’Connor made her own, with a stunning reading (and a video that was magnificently powerful in its simplicity) that went to No.1 all over the world.
The Expo World Choir will be supported by 31 instrumentalists, singers and soloists from the National Concert Hall, including Iarla Ó Lionáird, Jerry Fish, Tolü Makay, and Briana Corrigan.
This special initiative, a centrepiece of Ireland's offering at Expo Dubai, draws on Irish musical traditions, embracing the world’s diversity and bringing it together in harmony.
A key component of the Expo World Choir is the participation of members of the 10,000 strong Irish community in the UAE. This initiative is also part of the ‘To Be Irish’ at Christmas campaign, which runs from 8-23 December and aims to reflect the diversity of contemporary Irish culture.
The Ireland at Expo team will be streaming the concert across its social platforms:
Instagram - @Irelandatexpo
Twitter - @Irelandatexpo
Facebook - @Irelandatexpo
Or go here: https://ireland.ie/expo/ourprogramme/expoworldchoir/
The full list of songs offers a powerful insight into the impact that Irish music – and Irish songs in particular – have had across the world. Also featured in the Expo World Choir's set tonight will be:
‘Zombie' by Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries
'Falling Slowly' by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
'Mo Ghile Mear' by Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill and Dónal Ó Liatháin
'Teenage Kicks' by John O’Neill of The Undertones
'Nothing Compares 2U' as performed by Sinéad O'Connor
'Mná na hÉireann' by Peadar Ó Doirnín / Music by Seán Ó Riada
'Brown-Eyed Girl' by Van Morrison
'I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For' by Larry Mullen Jnr, Adam Clayton, Edge and Bono (U2)
'You Raise Me Up' by Brendan Graham and Rolf Løvland
‘One' by Larry Mullen Jnr, Adam Clayton, Edge and Bono (U2)
'Sing it Back!' By Róisín Murphy and Mark Brydon (Moloko)