The chapter concentrates on the music of Sinéad O’Connor, encompassing all
her albums from The lion and the cobra up to I’m not bossy, I’m the boss,
with particular attention to key songs and video performances. It analyses
her extraordinary vocal performances in relation to ideas about femininity
in traditional Irish music and in popular music. It considers the evolution
and significance of her image, especially her rejection of aspects of
conventional feminine beauty. Her treatment of trauma, Catholicism,
colonialism and her protests against child abuse are also detailed here. The
chapter traces an ongoing negotiation in her work between the individual
female artist and the idea of the collective.
. Crucially, analysis would also
need to engage with the potential for traditional music to create ‘spatial
illusions’ (Tuan 1977: 14) – for example, the association (in much contemporary cinematic discourse) of certain instruments with certain landscapes.
The methodological economy of politics/poetics has its parallels in
other critical and cultural fields. But the real point is that, as this
example shows, the spatial imagination might prove beneficial for archipelagic studies. TraditionalIrishmusic could be profitably compared in
these terms to other ‘traditional
Writing home in recent Irish memoirs and autobiographies (John McGahern’s Memoir, Hugo Hamilton’s The Speckled People, Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark and John Walsh’s The Falling Angels)
are ‘eternally in transit between one place and another, deprived of a sanctuary, denied a
final refuge, never finding a real home’ (p. 30).
What complicates Walsh’s already confused sense of identity is the
powerful attraction of 1960s popular culture in London in his teen
years, with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones now competing with the
traditionalIrishmusic enjoyed by his parents and their Irish friends.
For much of the memoir, the narrator oscillates between the need for
assimilation in middle-class English culture and the powerful attraction