Sinead O’Connor, “The Foggy Dew” (2015): Something Else! sneak peek

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An modern-day Irish activist pays tribute to a nineteenth century Irish activist with the sincere passion she’s famous (and occasionally, infamous) for.

We, of course, know a lot about Sinead O’Connor, but outside the Emerald Isle, not many know about Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. A member of the elite Irish Republican Brotherhood, the IRB, also known informally as the Fenians, Rossa fought for Irish Independence from Britain in the latter half of the 1800s. Even from exile in New York City, Rossa called for the armed rebellion of the Irish, but his movement met little success toward attaining Ireland its independence.

Ironically, his death was the spark that brought, finally, self-rule to most of Ireland. Rossa died on July 29, 1915 at the age of eighty-three. His funeral three days later back in his homeland — one hundred years ago today — was marked by a rousing speech by Irish nationalist Padraig Pearse, which was a virtual call to arms against the British hegemony, leading to the Easter Rebellion the following spring.

In honor of today’s funeral re-enactment of Rossa in Dublin, Ireland, Sinead O’Connor recorded the old Irish hymn “The Foggy Dew,” written a few years after the Easter Rebellion by Canon Charles O’Neill — which, too, was a call to take up arms against Britain instead of for Britain in World War I. O’Connor first took a gander at recording this ballad with the Chieftains for their 1995 album The Long Black Veil, a well-done rendition and as you might expect with the Chieftains, heavily steeped in the Irish folk style.

This newest version by her, recorded mere days ago, shows Sinead O’Connor voice remaining in top form, and with the production assistance of the Prime and John Reynolds, the echoes of a traditional Ireland comes in direct contact with contemporary sonic values connected by rage and fervor.

There’s probably no one better qualified to bridge the sentiments of those two eras a century apart in song.

Sinead O’Connor’s “The Foggy Dew” will be available as a free download on August 5, 2015.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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