Mirla is the project of Australian musician and composer Emily Mirla Harrison. She’s back with a new album called Solitaire which is out now and features Hannah Oblikov (Cello) and Jessica Arlo Irish (Viola and Violin). Listen below and check the full story.

Mirla (17) and Arthur (19) were falling in love, just as the events of the Second World War would separate them. On Valentine’s Day 1942, Arthur waved goodbye to Mirla and sailed from Fremantle, aboard the HMAS Perth, towards a Pacific War.

Two weeks later, the Perth was destroyed in the Battle of Sunda Strait. Autumn turned to winter with still no word on Arthur. Had he survived?

In those hardest of times, the blackest of moments, Mirla returned from work to find a bundle of her letters, all unopened, all ‘Returned to sender’; worst of all, there is the letter in which she declared her love for Arthur. It was a devastating blow.

Arthur cheated death. He survived the HMAS Perth and the forced labour on the Burma (Death) Railway. Later, as he was being transported to yet another camp, Arthur survived a second sinking; for six days he clung to debris, before being rescued by the American’s on USS Queenfish.

Throughout those long months of waiting and suffering, and not knowing, Mirla also learned to survive: by protecting herself (her love for Arthur), from her self-doubts and fears. Leaning into the virtues of hope, resilience and patience, Mirla held on. After more than two years of waiting are over. Arthur returned to Mirla. They went out dancing. In time, they were married, for over 60 years.

Their remarkable story has truly inspired generations of Australians, not least their granddaughter and composer: Emily Mirla Harrison.

“Nana (Mirla) lived out those long waiting days in a personal battle: between fear and a counter-force of ‘hope’. This is the particular psychology that I explore in Solitaire.

Through a uniquely female lens (by way of an epic musical journey), the album follows Mirla as she moves passed her heartache and longing into stoicism and growth. We explore Mirla’s capacity for resilience as she triumphs over adversity: skilfully balancing unwavering hope with a remarkable capacity to maintain hope, remain calm and endure”