ferna is a new musical expression from the north of Ireland. It favours subtle colours and contrary ideas. It works across electronic and organic forms. ferna was nurtured in Coleraine (the “nook of ferns”) and then Belfast. It is the work of Hannah McPhillimy, a composer with previous acclaim but a calling to take her art to another place. ferna (pronounced fear-na) merges the artist’s birthplace with her first name, a project title with actual roots.
ferna aims to tells the stories that otherwise get lost in the noise. It offers a voice to what isn’t normally said out loud and it brings visibility to the unseen. At a time when so much thought is being stifled and prevented, the ferna brief is to serve the quiet sentiments, searching out meaning away from the clamour.
‘Wasting’ is the first single from her debut album Understudy and was written shortly after ferna returned home after two years of completing a masters in composition in the U.S. Inspired by the desolate landscape of the intense novel Milkman and the disorientation of moving home, it is filled with mixed emotions and powerful hooks.
‘Walk On’ is the first of two songs that are loosely inspired by the life of Coretta Scott-King – the civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King Jr. – and ponders what life might feel like for someone living in the shadow of an icon.”
Ferna is deep of thought with a poetic dexterity and musical daring.
Steve Stockman - Author and Blogger
If this is the benchmark from what we can expect from ferna’s future output, she may well become one of Northern ireland’s most adaptable and imaginative young songwriters."
Rory Mullan, Chordblossom
Belfast Live’s 60 Female and Non-Binary Artists To Look Out For 2022.
Awarded Belfast’s inaugural Creative Practitioner Bursary, as part of UNESCO city of music bid.