She was the voice of her generation.
Cork’s music community has been paying tribute to Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor who has died at the age of 56.
In a statement released last night, the singer’s family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”
As the country struggled to come to terms with the loss, Wednesday’s John Creedon radio show turned into an impromptu tribute to the Irish music legend as the news broke.
The radio host said the tragic announcement made for a “surreal” experience: “The avalanche of love for Sinead that rolled into the show from around the world was truly staggering.” he said.
You can listen back to the programme on RTÉ Radio One here.
Cork band Sultans of Ping described the late star as “a true music icon of Ireland”.
“Tragic the world has lost both halves of this duet in the last year.” they tweeted.
Rest In Peace Sinead O’Connor – a true music icon of Ireland
— Sultans Of Ping (@sultans_of_ping) July 26, 2023
Cork DJ Stevie G paid tribute to O’Connor’s passion for the type of music she chose to perform: “Not only was she one of our most original talents, she was always standing up for hip-hop and reggae too and worked prolifically in these fields with the greats in an authentic and heartfelt way.” he said.
Very sad news about Sinead. Not only was she one of our most original talents, she was always standing up for hip-hop & reggae too & worked prolifically in these fields with the greats in an authentic & heartfelt way. May she rest in peace pic.twitter.com/b7F8s6whWu
— Stevie G (@StevieGrainger) July 26, 2023
“Obviously we all remember her going against the grain a lot in Ireland when it was fashionable to toe the line (esp with the church). In conversation with Rubberbandits at his podcast once I likened her to Lauryn Hill and when women go against the grain they are often pilloried.
“The pattern has repeated. From Billie and Nina to Sinead and even Denise. But that’s another conversation I guess.”
Cork singer-songwriter Jack O’Rourke once performed in the support slot for O’Connor at Cork Opera House at the beginning of his career:
“She was an unbelievable artist in any genre in music whether in rock, opera, folk music, or jazz.” he said.
“She was one of the voices of the century. She was just an incredible singer, technically and more importantly she had the ability to connect with her listener.”
‘A fearless commitment to important issues’
Offering his condolences to the singer’s children and her father, John, President Michael D Higgins said he will “remember her extraordinarily beautiful, unique voice.”
“What was striking in all of the recordings she made and in all of her appearances was the authenticity of the performance, while her commitment to the delivery of the song and its meaning was total.” said the President.
“To those of us who had the privilege of knowing her, one couldn’t but always be struck by the depth of her fearless commitment to the important issues which she brought to public attention, no matter how uncomfortable those truths may have been.
“What Ireland has lost at such a relatively young age is one of our greatest and most gifted composers, songwriters and performers of recent decades, one who had a unique talent and extraordinary connection with her audience, all of whom held such love and warmth for her.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin said he was devastated to hear the sad news and described O’Connor as “one of our greatest musical icons, and someone deeply loved by the people of Ireland, and beyond.
“Our hearts go out to her children, her family, friends, and all who knew and loved her,” he added.