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St. Brendan the navigator allegedly sailed from Ireland to Newfoundland during the 6th Century, which was reputed to be the first connection between the two islands and a similar expedition was later repeated by the late Tim Severin in 1978.
Ireland for centuries has had common ties with the island because of fishing and immigration primarily from the South East of Ireland, particularly during the famine in 1845. Even today, many Newfoundlanders speak with Wexford and Waterford accents.
In 2003 Waterford Institute of Technology was twinned with Memorial University, St. John’s Campus in Newfoundland and there was a music composition competition to write a piece for chamber orchestral forces, requiring a title connecting both places. I fortunately won the prize and my title connects in terms of latitude - both islands are 52 degrees North.
The sea has been the binding force that still makes the bonds strong between our two islands today and much of the sound world of the piece envisaged is influenced by it and the perilous voyages that many took, over the centuries.
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