Skip to main content
Read all the latest news and announcements from Northern Ireland Opera.

‘White Ribbon’ Anthem launch with Women’s Aid ABCLN and the Ulster Orchestra

On International Women’s Day, Monday 8th March, Women’s Aid ABCLN, Northern Ireland Opera and the Ulster Orchestra will launch ‘White Ribbon’, a collaborative anthem co-written by pianist Ruth McGinley and songwriter Duke Special, reflecting the voices and experience of women affected by domestic abuse.

Guests attending the event will be amongst the first to preview ‘White Ribbon’, following its live recording in the Waterfront Hall with vocalist Jolene O’Hara, Northern Ireland Opera’s Associate Artists and the Ulster Orchestra. Click here to register for the link to attend.

White Ribbon is a global movement to end male violence against women and the ‘White Ribbon’ anthem has been commissioned by Northern Ireland Opera, working jointly with the Ulster Orchestra and Women’s Aid ABCLN, in response to the devastating impact of domestic abuse witnessed at this time.

Ruth McGinley has worked alongside women affected by domestic abuse to create the ‘White Ribbon’ anthem.  She says, “With over 8,000 incidents of domestic abuse reported to the PSNI during lockdown, from April – June 2020, and five domestic homicides in the last year, we believe staying silent on this issue is not an option”.

Ruth’s own personal experience of domestic abuse can be felt in its powerful and uplifting words, and these are amplified by the ‘anthemic’ voices of Jolene and Northern Ireland Opera’s Associate Artists.

Cameron Menzies, Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera, says, “We are very proud to have had the opportunity to commission this anthem by Ruth McGinley and Duke Special for Women’s Aid ABCLN, to help highlight the global movement of the White Ribbon campaign. We are delighted that some of our Associate Artists will be performing this new work with Jolene O’Hara, Ruth McGinley and the Ulster Orchestra. We hope it will reach as wide an audience as possible to draw attention to this important campaign.”

The White Ribbon campaign was formed in 1991 by male students in Canada in response to the brutal massacre of 14 female students. In ‘White Ribbon 30 Years’ its goal remains resolute to send out the message that male violence against women, in all its forms, is unacceptable.

Women’s Aid ABCLN encourages groups and individuals across Northern Ireland to take action by signing the White Ribbon Charter, wearing the White Ribbon pin and making the personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

Jonathan Simmance, Animateur with the Ulster Orchestra and Women’s Aid ABCLN’s first male ambassador, says, “Domestic abuse against women is overwhelmingly a male issue; it is perpetrated by men, excuses are made by men, blind eyes are turned by men, solutions are not implemented by men. The White Ribbon campaign was created to redress this, and I am proud to stand with Women’s Aid ABCLN and with so many of my colleagues in the Ulster Orchestra and the Arts community as a whole to achieve change.”

Through the White Ribbon campaign, Women’s Aid ABCLN is empowering business leaders, employers and workforces, community hubs, schools and churches to take a stand against domestic abuse. White Ribbon Co-ordinator, Tahnee McCorry says “It is our hope that the anthem will strike a chord with the general public.”

“We would like to see it ‘sung by from the terraces’, by pop up choirs and in schools and we are calling on bands and musicians of all genres to take the ‘White Ribbon’ anthem to the next level.”

“Our thanks go to Northern Ireland Opera and the Ulster Orchestra for this unique opportunity and also thank co-writers Ruth McGinley and Duke Special, singer Jolene O’Hara, Northern Ireland Opera’s Associate Artists and women who have shared their voices and experience about domestic abuse to create the ‘White Ribbon’ anthem.”

“We welcome your support and invite everyone to join us online on Monday 8th March from 7pm for the 40-minute event to launch the ‘White Ribbon’ anthem and learn more about how we are building a community response to domestic abuse.”

The ‘White Ribbon’ anthem will be available on YouTube and other audio streaming channels and Tahnee says, “We very much hope people will make a donation and support Women’s Aid ABCLN’s work with women and children at this time.”

For more information about the ‘White Ribbon’ anthem you can call Women’s Aid ABCLN on 028 25 632136 or to register and receive your link for the online launch email events@womensaidabcln.org