A graveyard in Robertson, NSW
A graveyard in Robertson, NSW. Photo © Anni Heino

Red Dirt Hymns

When the coronavirus pandemic stymied Andrew Ford’s opera plans for 2020, he set about composing a series of hymns using new text from Australian poets. He then invited singers from a range of musical genres to record them. Harriet Cunninghamspeaks to Ford and some of the poets and singers he collaborated with about a project which has proved to be the right idea for strange times.

January, 2020. The east coast of Australia was on fire. The air was full of smoke and ash. Andrew Ford, composer, writer and broadcaster, remembers it well.

“The fires...