Monday, December 05, 2005

Sinead O'Connor: A Sufi Adventure

There is an article about Sinead O'Connor worth reading at the Globe and Mail (thanks to the wonderful folks at Jimmy Page's Sweater Vest for letting me know about it). Here are some choice bits:

O'Connor's life has gone through many twists and turns...including a recent three-year retirement from music, but she sees a straight line running from the girl pictured on the cover of her new album, Throw Down Your Arms, to the collection of reggae classics inside. Even at the age of seven, she says, O'Connor was looking for the God that she found much later in the music of Rastafari. "I understood prior to age seven that God needed to be freed from religion," she says. Her earliest understanding was that God was a bird (as represented in so many paintings of the Virgin Mary), and that He had been ritually trapped in the tabernacle.

..."I kind of understood that music was God, if you like. That it's a little connection, a telephone to God. . . . I hadn't wanted to be a pop star. I wanted to write prophecy, about saints and everything. I'm kind of obsessed with religion and theology. . . . I believe that God is underemployed, and extremely lonely."

..."[ Throw Down Your Arms is] not a reggae record, it's a hard-core Rasta record," she says. "I was approaching these songs as scriptures, and honouring the priesthood of these artists. They're creating this space in their music where God can exist outside of religion, and I want to pass on their teachings and example. . . . In some ways, the album is a book of teachings, or a mass. I ran the songs in sequence the way I would celebrate a mass."

...[O'Connor] put up about $1-million (U.S.) of her own money to make the project go. But she insists that this recording is in no way a continuation of the career she declared dead and buried in 2002. "I completely dissociate myself from anything to do with Sinead O'Connor as I used to be," she says. "This is the first album in a career in religious music. I hesitate to say that, because the perception of what that means is so gacky. I have at least created a new arena for myself, within myself, because the old arena was killing me."

Next to come is an album called Theology, based on scriptures from the Old Testament, with Irish guitarist Steve Cooney. After that she may do a recording of Sufi music, or gospel, or any of the other types of spiritual music that now seem like almost the only things worth recording. She also wants to make "a silly record for babies."
Either she's a genius or she's insane in the membrane. Or maybe both? Regardless, I can't wait to hear that Sufi record.

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