- 16 Feb 22
'What’s Wrong With Changing?’ propels us into Wallis Bird's seventh studio album to date, HANDS.
Berlin-based Irish artist Wallis Bird has revealed a hugely special collaboration with the Theodora Byrne Ensemble - coming together to perform Wallis’s current single ‘What’s Wrong With Changing?’.
The rendition of the jaunting lead single from the Enniscorthy native's forthcoming album sounds even more powerful with the accompaniment of the 29-strong choir, featuring some of Ireland’s top vocalists.
The Theodora Byrne Ensemble is an Irish contemporary mixed-voice choir comprising over 40 singers. The talented group was established as a virtual group in 2020 by Dublin-based session musician and arranger Theodora Byrne, as a response to the restrictions the pandemic placed on live music and singing in public.
"I love Theodora’s choir,” says Wallis. “They sound like one person, making every song their own. It feels like Theodora has been making these choir ensembles for what seems like years, but surprisingly she only began making them during lockdown. Just the quality of the choir, the wealth of national talent and effort gone into the arrangement, well! Thank you, Theo, and thank you dearly to the choir."
Check out the performance below:
Since May 2020, the Theodora Byrne Ensemble has performed virtually with the likes of acclaimed musician Lisa Hannigan, Bell X1, Saint Sister, Ciaran Lavery, and Maria Kelly. The music is arranged, coordinated, and produced by Byrne in collaboration with the artists, and is recorded remotely by the singers themselves.
In 2021, the Ensemble teamed up with Bell X1 for 'The Heart of Saturday Night', and 'Other Voices: Home'.
"Working on the choir version of ‘What's Wrong with Changing?’ with Wallis was so much fun," Theodora Byrne says of the project. "The original track is layered and textured with so many interesting ideas that it gave me loads to work with. Her solo acoustic version that she recorded for the video was equally as dynamic and exciting and gave plenty of opportunities to add voices to the song."
"Wallis was really open to my ideas and the process was very creative and collaborative," Byrne adds. "This song was very different from any of the others I've arranged for the ensemble and it challenged me to approach choral work differently. I was so delighted to be able to work with Wallis on this project!"
To date, Wallis Bird has released six albums since 2007, for which she’s won two Meteor Awards - mostly recently for Best Female Artist – and a prestigious 2017 German ‘Music Autoren Preis’ (Music Author Prize). She received two further nominations for the Choice Music Prize.
In addition, she’s racked up over a thousand shows during the past decade, earning a reputation worldwide for her passionate, energetic and good-humoured concerts.
‘What’s Wrong With Changing?’ propels us into Wallis’ seventh studio album to date, Hands - also known as NINE AND A HALF SONGS FOR NINE AND A HALF FINGERS in reference to a childhood accident that permanently damaged her left hand.
Musically inspired by the rhythmic discipline of Janet Jackson circa her iconic Control, Rhythm Nation and janet eras, the single gives fans an early snippet of the uplifting and introspective approach Wallis has taken to writing her seventh studio album.
The album is a turning of the spotlight onto herself, raising issues that are sometimes far harder to face. Confronting themes of trust, alcohol abuse, stagnation, self-censorship and self-improvement. Each of them, however, is delivered by a voice uncommonly blessed with joy, ingenuity and empathy.
‘What’s Wrong With Changing?’ is something of a sister song to ‘As The River Flows’ from Wallis’s 2019 album, Woman. Her new track sees Wallis striving to “think more and understand others a little more; not to ‘other’ each other but to create the idea that we are all one.”
The performance features the voices of Alannah Hewitt, Alma Kelliher, Bronagh McLaughlin, Caoimhe Barrett, Catherine Smyth, Colleen Heavey, Cormac Curran, Derbhaile Maclean, Evelyn Finnerty, Fiona Harte, Hannah Hoban, Helen Murray, Jane Patterson, Jay Rankin, Joe Furlong, Julie Murphy, Katie Ryan, Laura O'Sullivan, Lisa Gorry, Lisa McCabe, Michael D'Alton, Natalia Laguens, Natalie Turner, Raphaelle Smyth, Rosie Timmon, Saoirse Kavanagh, Stephen Bishop, Steven O'Brien and Theodora Byrne.
Watch the video for ‘What’s Wrong With Changing?’ below, premiered by Hot Press:
Recorded by Joe Furlong & Oisin Clarke
Mastered by Marcus Wust
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