Across A Stranger's Sea

by Belfast Bullfighters

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This song is a work of two halves: The first half features the wonderful Matt mcGinn on lead vocals – I wrote it with him in mind to illustrate his uniquely soulful approach to folk music. The second half showcases the incredible Uillean Pipes playing of Darragh Murphy over a string arrangement that was brought to life by the Arco String Quartet.

The song deals with loss and sadness, but through the very specific context of displacement – to be forcibly separated from that place which you call ‘home’.

Mass migration throughout the world today is viewed through the prism of war, using terms like ‘refugee’ or ‘economic immigrant’. While these terms are necessary because the number of people involved is so large, it can be easy to forget about the individual’s story. The father who cannot see his children, the wife separated from her husband – the family forced to leave the neighbourhood they grew up in.

I miss my home, I miss my love
And all the things these dreams remind me of…

Throughout Northern Ireland’s troubled political history, unknown numbers of people have been forced to leave – through intimidation or outright threat, or through lack of opportunity and the need for stability and security. This separation always seemed particularly cruel and tragic to me.

When someone dies, they are not aware of their own death – they simply cease to be - and the finality of it forces others to press forward – it is life’s hardest test, but it is final and unyielding. But to be separated in such a way – to be banished, is to live one’s life under the strain of constant heartache.

Although the video points deals very specifically with the Troubles in Northern Ireland, this context is simply the one that I happened to grow up in. The message of the song is universal – I could just as easily have used imagery from Aleppo in 2016. It tells the story of a man living with a terrible burden – haunted by dreams that will not allow him to forget the pain of his separation.

Lost to the fury of mortal men
I dreamed I’d see my home again…



I miss my Home,
I Miss my love,
And all the things these dreams remind me of,
I can taste the air,
Still, Damp and cold,
With a fear my lips have never told,

I left myself on hills and shores,
As I ran to escape unwinnable wars,
Lost to the fury of mortal men,
I dreamed I'd see my home again,
I dreamed I'd seems home,


DAVE MARKS: E-Bow Fretless Bass
DARRAGH MURPHY: Pipes and Whistles


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Belfast Bullfighters London, UK

Blending traditional Irish instruments with contemporary rock, prog and funk stylings, Belfast Bullfighters have created a fresh, exciting take on folk music from the Emerald Isle.

Assembled by Belfast-born composer & multi-instrumentalist Dave Marks the band features an incredible lineup of guest musicians, including Guthrie Govan, Simon McBride, Darby Todd and Darragh Murphy.
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