Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Video: Irish Rovers release Titanic tribute song

Left to right: George Millar, John Reynolds, Sean O'Driscoll, Wilcil McDowell (seated), Ian Millar, Fred Graham at Carnlough Harbour, N. Ireland. George Millar and his cousin Ian Millar are from Ballymena, original member Wilcil McDowell is from Larne, Sean O'Driscoll is from Cork, and both John Reynolds and percussionist Fred Graham are from Belfast.
The Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the United States after striking an iceberg
Pipes and the captain's bathtub are shown in this July 2003 photo, of what remains of the captain's cabin on the Titanic more than two miles underwater in the north Atlantic. Recent research dives to the legendary shipwreck are showing the vessel is deteriorating faster than earlier thought.

The Irish Rovers, an Irish-Canadian folk group, are releasing an album that includes a song paying tribute to the Titanic.

The song, released on Rover Records, tells of the ship's beginnings in Belfast's Harland and Wolff shipyard.

Rover's founder George Millar says: "Belfast pride was at its highest, and the sinking devastated the shipyard, and its workers. To this day they say with a wry smile, 'She was alright when she left here'. "

The legend of the mighty ship has both intrigued and haunted Rovers’ founder, George Millar for most of his life.

That may be because he shares his birthday of April 14 with the date the ship struck an iceberg during its maiden voyage.

"Being from Northern Ireland and born on April 14th, the legend of the Titanic has been with me all my life. It took the labour of fifteen thousand men to build her - she was the pride of Belfast," says George.

The veteran singer-songwriter says he felt compelled to finally put the song down on paper for the ship's 100th anniversary. Recently, he has been nominated on his home base of Vancouver Island in Canada for his songwriting, and last year winning the VIMA top song honours for his composition, Gracehill Fair.

For their landmark fortieth album, Millar wrote a number of new ‘songs of the sea’ including The Titanic which "gives one a feeling of descending the ocean depths to meet the great ship at her resting place, then being quickly swept away on a journey to her glory days, while charging across the high seas".

The release of the album was prompted by millions of views of the Irish Rovers' Drunken Sailor recording on YouTube.

No one was more surprised of this attention from a younger generation, than the Rovers themselves, but they're happy to see it. So, the band decided to produce an album full of tales of the sea, and the sinking of Belfast's RMS Titanic is one of the largest maritime tragedies in history.

Other songs from the Drunken Sailor album celebrate the life and loves of a sailor.

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