Paper Hats And Christmas Cards Is A New Single Written By Donal Scullion.
A Newcastle student from Shimna Integrated College is among a wealth of musical talent from South Down who have recently produced a single written by Aughlisnafin singer/songwriter, Donal Scullion, writes Laura Barr.
The single ‘Paper Hats and Christmas Cards’ came about with help from Panarts Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival.
Donal was one of three songwriters selected to go over to Nashville for a week back last March which unfortunately didn’t happen due to Covid-19.
Although the trip was cancelled, organiser of Panarts Colin Magee still wanted the songwriters to create something of value and that’s how the project ‘Let it Grow…From Seed to Song’ came about.
Donal, a regular fixture on the live music scene in NI over the last 15 years has been working as a solo artist as well as projects including NI Soul Troop, The Vibes and Uncle Social.
He wanted to use the best of local talent on the single and was joined by Newcastle’s Cormac Neeson (The Answer frontman and Unholy Gospel Band), Downpatrick bass player, Eamon Hanlon and Claire McCartney (vocals).
In addition, Donal had Warrenpoint man Matthew Benson (George Ezra’s trombone player) and two of his own brothers, Conor and Brendan singing on the track.
His fiancé Maeve Finn also sang and his nephew, Ted created the artwork for the song.
Donal’s 14-year-old god-daughter Ruby told Down News that she was “very pleased” to have been asked to record with Donal and the other artists for the track.
The Year 10 student from Shimna Integrated College said: “I have always enjoyed singing, from a really young age and loved taking part in school shows.
“Three years ago I started singing lessons and have been working through the grades since then.
“Singing is just so amazing and it’s so fun to be able to have this talent.
“I feel quite nervous still when I am about to start singing but once I begin I just get lost in the music and it’s the best feeling.”
As well as singing, Ruby also plays the flute, piano and ukulele.
“You get so many opportunities from singing and it was great being back in the recording studio with Donal again” she added.
“He is really amazing and it is great fun hanging out with him.
“He really inspires me creating his own music and he is just so talented.”
Ruby explained that she received the lyrics for ‘Paper Hats and Christmas Cards’ a week before recording commenced at the end of November.
“It was great being in the studio and it was all very relaxed and Christmassy.
“Everybody that day came at different time slots so there wasn’t a big group of us all there at once.
“Me and my dad (Leigh Ferris) have been blasting the song loads… it’s a really great festive tune!”
The song was produced by Dean Stevens at Hillhouse Studio in conjunction with Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival and Arts Council NI.
Donal added: “The song essentially is about missing someone.
“That is something most people experience, whether it is a parent, sibling, grandparent or friend.
“And this year in particular most people will be missing someone.
“With the help of some amazing musicians and singers, the Salvation army band brass and the mini choir allows this song to capture the essence of Christmas, and although poignant, there is also a hopefulness for the future. “
The single is available now at: