Irish duo Saint Sister—Dublin-based songwriter Morgan MacIntyre and multi-instrumentalist/composer Gemma Doherty—today shared their new single and collaboration with Mercury-nominated songwriter Lisa Hannigan, “The Place That I Work,” alongside its accompanying video, an Algorithm Studios production, directed by Kev Freeney. The song tells the story of a reconciled friendship following a period of estrangement, setting the traditional Irish Ballad form against a bedrock of atmospheric strings, synthesizers, and birdsong.
Contemplating the song’s origin, MacIntyre explains: “I wrote this song while I was working as a Christmas temp in Dublin’s oldest book shop, Hodges Figgis. One day a friend, who I hadn’t seen since we had a misunderstanding, came in and caught me completely off guard. I was, all at once, angry that we hadn’t talked for months and that they had chosen now, to come to where I worked to make peace, but also undeniably relieved and happy to see them, to know we were still friends.”
The arrangement of “The Place That I Work” features a distinctive blend of interlocking three-part vocal harmony. Doherty, who arranged the piece, details the process: “After a few attempts at an arrangement, it seemed like it should be quite free and driven by the vocals, possibly a cappella. We’re so used to singing as a duo and creating vocal harmony with two voices, but with three voices you can find a real sense of completion within the chords. When we started thinking of it in three-parts, the first voice that came to mind was Lisa’s.”