Bean sí – Fairy Woman

Dolores O'Riordan

Dolores O’Riordan

The arts are a form of communication; music, writing, film, theatre, painting, photography and all other mediums that are devolved from these pillars of human existence and endeavour.

I’m Irish. I grew up listening in awe to the deeds and legends of my boyhood hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill, and the stories my grandmother would tell me (terrify me with) about the bogeyman and one of my personal favourites the banshee (Gaelic; bean sí – fairy woman).

I’m reminded of this while listening to the voice of the late Dolores O’Riordan who passed away on the 15th of January 2018. A voice which represented the finest traditions of Irish music, with links to the wilderness and the wails of the bean sí in terms of its haunting, lilting and melancholic style. A sound and style of pronunciation closely associated with her birthplace Limerick.

The video below is a version of Schubert’s Ave Maria, in which Dolores duetted with no other than arguably the greatest tenor of them all, Luciano Pavarotti, at a charity concert in Modena, Italy in 1995.

Hauntingly beautiful. RIP.