- 25 Aug 20
"With our daunting but undamaged spirit, we know some truths to be inaccurate...Friction means things will eventually be smoothed out."
Dublin spoken word poet Stephen James Smith and Derry musician Elma Orkestra (AKA Eoin O'Callaghan) have teamed up for a new piece of art, commissioned by Derry's Gasyard Wall Féile.
'Synonymous with Strength' takes inspiration from the beautiful rolling landscape of Northern Ireland.
The track follows the pair's 2019 collaboration with Ryan Vail as Borders on the powerful 'My Island'.
Stephen James Smith is a playwright central to the rise of the vibrant spoken word scene in Ireland today, with his videos online amassing over three million views to date.
Stephen’s debut collection Fear Notpublished by Arlen House, was released in September 2018 and he has recently released a poetry pamphlet Hear Now.
He shared the poem 'Collectively Counting' in May of this year, speaking to the need for cohesion and solidarity during this time of disruption, as a result of Covid-19.
The poem was accompanied by a film by Craig Kenny and has been brought into being in collaboration with First Fortnight, a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action.
In October 2018 Stephen appeared on a special edition of The Late Late Show live from London, where he recited his poem 'This Community' to a TV audience of 1.1 million.
Ryan Vail and Elma Orkestra have a common ground in the ambient, electronic and neo-classical genres, with the duo both having their roots in Derry/Londonderry.
Filmed and edited by Eoin O'Callaghan, 'Synonymous with Strength' made its premiere on The Stephen McCauley Show on BBC Radio Ulster a number of weeks ago and has been gaining traction ever since.
The poem references the strength of oak trees, whose roots hold Doire together, and the historical borders ignored by nature carved out on the land.
Watch the full video below for the beautiful track: