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Any news or events coming up related to Sam Burnside.

Columba Canticles to be performed in City of Culture 2013



World Premiere of 

Columba Canticles 

A New Work Commissioned by The Culture Company and St Columb’s Cathedral as part of the

UK Year of Culture 2013

To mark St Columba’s Feast Day + the 400th anniversary of the sending of the seal from London to Derry (giving it city status) +  the sending of the Promise Chalice to Derry 400 years ago


London’s Southbank Sinfonia

Aberdeen University Choir

University of Ulster Choir

Libretti written by Sam Burnside; set to music by Laurence Roman

# First performance:  St Columba Cathedral, Derry on 9 June. 2013

# Then, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, 10 June, 2013

Start time(s)
St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry 7:30pm
Parliament Buildings, Belfast 7:30pm
Ticket prices
St Columb’s Cathedral
Adults £10
Concessionary £7
Tickets will be available from The Playhouse Box Office
Tel: 028 7126 8027

Columba Canticles

(C)  2013


Sam Burnside said: “Columba Canticles explores the experiences of ordinary men and women of the Plantation – that is, the lives of the ‘Planted’, as distinct from the ‘ Planters’ – the shoemakers, stonemasons, weavers, the laborours the men and women who have made such a contribution to our culture.


Laurence Roman said: “Columba Canticles is a celebration of the human spirit featuring this specially commissioned score.  In setting Londonderry writer Sam Burnside’s award-winning cycle of poems, this oratorio explores 21st century spirituality in all its freshest, most vibrant colours. The Church is cast as a mighty crucible in which the soul of humanity blazes brightly. ‘


The choirs of the Universities of Ulster and Aberdeen combine with the Southbank Sinfonia for this exciting world premier, set amid the historic magnificence of St Columb’s Cathedral in the heart of the City of Derry.


Columba Canticles weaves a dazzling tapestry of music and verse celebrating 400 years of Derry’s richly joyous, yet volatile history.”


Canon Brian Smeaton

(Churchill, Co Donegal) has written of this work:

‘In Columba Canticles Samuel Burnside catches the voice of the workers of plantation in Ireland.- “For dates we say, The past, History. / For numbers we say, Many, too many…”Theirs was the rough, tough daily grind of colonisation, a compound of class division and religious difference made rigid by fear. The poem lets humanity shine through the words- “ this righteous marriage of sweetness/ and bitterness / the seed and the mystery of/ us- we- one.” Telling the story- “Spreading out, a dozen here a dozen/ there / the land bestowed her favours on/them /for they were ardent/ in their husbandship of these/ valleys and hills…….” There is passion and the unknown, hope and misery, pilgrimage and settlement in the lives of people sent to this end of the earth. Sam Burnside knows it in his bones, and tells it like it was.’

 Derry~Londonderry City of Culture 2013

New Book Published

New & Selected Poems by Sam Burnside“The snow comes on like a bride
Approaching with veiled intent”
From “Rump Parliament”

A new selection of Burnside’s poems (drawn from previously published together with more recent work) is now on sale.

The old method of ‘subscription publishing’ is being used – an example of a dynamic and democratic relationship that stands as a living partnership between author and reader.

The book is available in paper form or as an e-book on KINDLE from