Local group records song of hope

The Voice of Recovery singers with Sheila Smyth (front).
The Voice of Recovery singers with Sheila Smyth (front).

Dromore’s Voice of Recovery group has taken inspiration from Belfast’s Farset River to record a ballad marking the positive impact of peace and healing on the city.

The 30-strong, award-winning group of recovering addicts meets at the Recovery Cafe in Dromore, with the support of Sheila Smyth of ‘The Right Key’, a social enterprise using music and singing to promote health, healing and recovery.

Written by Sheila, ‘The Farset river’ focuses on the Farset flowing underground while the city above changes.

“This is a song about hope for the future,” said Sheila, “and we wanted to add our voice to the new Belfast. We come at this from a different perspective; the group is made up of people who at one time in their lives had no hope for the future but they are in recovery and their lives are changing, just like the city is changing.

“We recently did an inner-city project with Radio Failte which resulted in a concert in Townsend Street . . . We did a version of the Farset River song at this event.

“It was very moving, and the end of a great project.

“Voice of Recovery immediately wanted it on their album, which is to be released at the end of July; they felt a real connection with the song, because of their own recovery process.”

One of the singers, Stephen Gibson, sober now for more than two and a half years, said: “This song means so much because it describes how, just like all of us, Belfast is also in recovery; it may be shaky at times but it develops strength every day.”

Voice of Recovery has performed at venues as far afield as London and Greece.

Another of the group, Erika, said: “Before I went into rehab, I’d lost everything.

“My children were five and three and they had to go to live with my mother. I’d lost my job and was drinking every day.

“I’d lost control of my life. Going into rehab was the best thing I’d ever done.

“Singing and being part of this group is what has completely changed my life. I got out of rehab on a Friday and was singing with this group on Sunday.

“I was three years sober on May 3 and I now have my children back and I’m happy and healthy. I go to the Recovery Café four times a week and what people really need to understand is that you can be sober and still have fun.”