A 16-year-old girl has stunned the music industry in Ireland with a brilliant song called Freedom Day, which highlights the suffering of thousands of children facing poverty and oppression across the world.
Róisin Seoighe won a contest organised by the charity PREDA with a song called Freedom Day. Irish singer Damien Dempsey admitted to being overcome with emotion “because this young song writer truly connected with the plight of the children”.
PREDA helps children in the Philippines and elsewhere, providing both care and financial support.
It organised a Freedom Day Song Competition for schoolchildren across Ireland. Dempsey, who first proposed the idea, said he was delighted with the passion for both music and justice displayed by so many young people.
Róisin’s winning entry shows a talent for song writing that goes way beyond her 16 years. Fr. Shay Cullen, PREDA founder, described the song as an “emotive and evocative masterpiece”.
Róisin comes from Connemara and Irish is her first language. Freedom Day is written in both English and Irish. She is a Transition year student at Scoil Chuimseach Chiaráin in Carraroe County Galway.
She has also won numerous All-Ireland titles for Sean nós dancing and singing.
At the age of 7 she rose to national attention for the first time being asked to perform on The Late Late Toy Show. As her talent developed so did her profile with Róisin accompanying the then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, on a cultural visit to Liverpool and had the honour of performing at a number of formal functions at Aras an Uachtaráin. She was also asked to perform for Maureen O’Hara at Ashford Castle at the 50th Anniversary of “The Quiet Man” film.
You can see Róisin performing Freedom Day in this video.
You can buy the song on itunes
Róisin says she has been involved in music for as long as she can remember.
“I wrote the song to raise awareness of children in the Philippines that are locked into adult prisons. But also for freedom of children all over the world. Freedom to live carefree as children.
The charity PREDA works with these children to give them better lives.
Róisin says she couldn’t believe when she heard she had won. “In fact I had the song written and didn’t believe it would win. It was almost the deadline for the competition, and I still had not sent it in. My mom told me to try it so I did.
“The school (Scoil Colaiste Ciarán) was where the video was taken and the song recorded and it was great fun having them come to film and tape.
“I really think PREDA and Fr. Shay’s work is brilliant. I had watched a few videos online, one by CNN and another was Damien Dempsey’s visit to the Philippines. It really affected me. I couldn’t understand how people could treat children or any human like that locking them up in cages. I really hope people download the song from itunes to support the cause.
“My brother Colm thinks its great craic. He plays music too. It’s so much fun watching the comments and shares and how people react to the song. My grandmother is delighted she got the guitar for me!
“My friends are really supportive. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback for this song.”
Róisin says she would like to pursue a career music and song writing
“I have a lot of songs written and a lot half written! I like to write and spend a lot of time on my guitar.
“I have been preforming all my life, this type of song writing I have always had but never shared. So doing this kind of song preforming is new to me. I would really love to be a professional singer/songwriter of this type.
“I am a sean nós singer from birth that is something that is deep in me it is something that I will always do.
“The sean nós songs I have I learnt from my father and grandfather are very important to me. My grandfather lived with me, he passed away during the summer, he was 96 years old.
“The songs he gave me are very important to me and I hope some day to win Coirn uí Riarda which is the main sean nós singing competition for adults. It is the world cup for sean nós singers..It is important to me to integrate the Irish language into my songs.”