Welsh Singer Records Award-Winning Song in Mystical Chapel
1st December 2023 – Newport born musician Deborah Rose releases a beautiful new single ‘I Lift My Eyes To The Hills’ recorded in, and inspired by, the evocative and remote Welsh chapel of Capel-y-ffin. The song won a national songwriting competition and will be released on the Winter Solstice, 22nd December 2023.
Deborah set up camp in the drafty old chapel with cellist Sonia Hammond from Newchurch, a sound engineer and a cameraman. The song was recorded live in front of the engraved window with words from Psalm 121, which inspired the song’s chorus. The song celebrates nature, spirituality, love and the beauty of the Welsh countryside.
Deborah discovered the chapel, which translates as ‘Chapel Of The Boundary’, after a day trip to Hay-on-Wye in May 2023. She set off on a sunset drive to Hay Bluff, over the Gospel Pass to the hamlet of Capel-y-ffin. Her car got stuck, she sought help and found it in an unexpected place. Arriving at the chapel she saw the fitting words: ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help’, engraved on the East window by the sculptor Eric Gill.
In July 2023, Deborah was invited to take part in the national ‘Totally Psalmic’ Competition, the aim of the competition being to rewrite a psalm as a song for a modern audience. ‘I Lift My Eyes To The Hills’ took first prize, inspiring Deborah to record it for release as her next single.
Deborah said “‘I Lift My Eyes To The Hills’ is like a traveller’s prayer, and the song itself took me on an exciting journey. I love the Black Mountains, and the mystery of the Welsh hills. When I finally made it to the chapel, after a failed attempt, it was a magical experience. I arrived just in time for Evensong and had a synchronistic encounter with two visitors from Seattle on a pilgrimage.
“For me, the song is about safe passage for the wayfarer. As a musician I’m often on the road touring or looking for new inspiration. This is a song of thanksgiving for all the help I’ve received along the way when I’ve had difficulties. It’s an expression of faith that on the journey there is always an element of unseen help to guide you home.”
Fr. Richard Williams, Parish Priest of Hay-on-Wye with Capel-y-ffin and Llanigon said, “Both Deborah and I wrote about the coincidence of meeting here at this chapel in our respective newsletters. It’s often been described as a ‘thin place’, the place where the veil between this world and ‘the other’ has worn diaphanously thin. And perhaps where miracles/coincidences become almost commonplace.”
Deborah is currently working on a new album for release in 2024. She has toured with folk legend Judy Collins, US presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and American songwriter Jimmy Webb. She appeared on BBC Radio 2 to commemorate the anniversary of the late singer Eva Cassidy. Cassidy continues to inspire her alongside folk heroes Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. More recently she has performed with comedian and pianist Alistair McGowan. She runs songwriting workshops in schools, prisons and care homes. She has also worked in Uganda, Africa writing and recording songs with women and children in rural villages.
Deborah performs with cellist Sonia Hammond in St Mary’s Church, Hay on Wye, on Saturday 24th February 2024.
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