The late Irish songbird Sinéad O’Connor had passion for Jamaican rhythms and roots

August 8, 2023  -CNW News -Sinéad O’Connor, the renowned Irish singer and activist who died last month, is fondly remembered for her deep affection for Jamaican music and its vibrant community.

O’Connor’s passion for Reggae and Jamaican people

O’Connor once referred to Jamaican male artists as her “biggest inspiration” and the country’s nationals as “the greatest people on Planet Earth.”

The late songstress nurtured a profound affection for Jamaica and its iconic reggae sound.  During her 2004 visit to the island nation, she collaborated with renowned Jamaican musicians Sly and Robbie, leading to the creation of “Throw Down Your Arms.”

This album, boasting 14 tracks, showcased her unique take on reggae stalwarts. It included renditions of Buju Banton’s “Untold Stories”, Peter Tosh’s “Downpressor Man”, and an array from Burning Spear like “Marcus Say Jah No Dead”, “Marcus Garvey”, “Door Peep”, “Throw Down Your Arms”, and “He Prayed”.

Other notable covers were “Curly Locks” by Junior Byles and “War” by Bob Marley & The Wailers.

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O’Connor’s perspective on the shared histories of Ireland and Jamaica

O’Connor once remarked on the resonating parallels she observed between her Irish heritage and Jamaica’s culture.

She highlighted the historical connections between Africa and Ireland, predating the modern Jamaican state, and drew attention to shared colonial legacies.

Sinéad O’Connor
Sinéad O’Connor. (Photo via The Hollywood Reporter)

Her latest plans 

O’Connor, who was known for being open about her prolonged battle with mental health issues, disclosed her ongoing work on an album scheduled for a 2024 launch.

Reports are that she intended to embark on a concert tour across Australia, New Zealand, selected European countries, the US, and various other regions in 2025.

Sinéad O’Connor’s musical legacy

Launching her musical journey with a record deal at the tender age of 19 in 1985, Sinéad quickly rose to prominence.

By 1987, she introduced the world to “The Lion and the Cobra”, an album that garnered critical acclaim. This success was soon followed by “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”, featuring the chart-topping “Nothing Compares 2 U”, a masterpiece penned by the legendary Prince.

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