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Shane MacGowan and Sinead O'Connor Tribute at Carnegie Hall Raises $70,000 for PEN America

O'Connor's daughter Roisin Waters gave a visceral rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U," the 1990 worldwide hit that her mother recorded.

Source: Masao Nakagami,CC BY-SA 2.0/Wattie Cheung, MEGA

Shane & Sinead continue to be celebrated.

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"A St. Paddy's Day Celebration of Sinead O'Connor and Shane MacGowan" held Wed., Mar 20 at Carnegie Hall was not only a fundraiser for the non-profit PEN America, whose "programs defend writers, artists, and journalists and protect free expression worldwide," but also a stunning tribute to two individuals whose personalities were felt throughout the three-hour and 23-song performance.

Towards the conclusion of the night's tributes, O'Connor's daughter Roisin Waters gave a visceral and stunning rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U," the 1990 worldwide hit that her mother recorded (in turn directed to her own late mother). Watch and listen to the fan-filmed video below.

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Source: ℗ © Prince Rodgers Nelson/YouTube

Roisin Waters - Sinéad O’Connor's daughter sings "Nothing Compares 2U"

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The power of O'Connor and MacGowan's songwriting output was laid bare by the musicians who stepped up to pay their respects, sometimes in a wide-ranging field of interpretations. As reported in The Independent, "The Resistance Revival Chorus' political interpretation of O'Connor's hymnlike 'Thank You for Hearing Me,' which the 12-piece gospel choir interspersed with new lyrics calling for a ceasefire in Gaza" was quickly juxtaposed against Eugene Hütz of the theatrical punk band Gogol Bordello "blasting through a euphorically unintelligible rendition of MacGowan's 1994 screamer 'The Church of the Holy Spook.'"

Beautifully captured in rehearsal at a City Winery run-up to the tribute, Glen Hansard and Imelda May collaborated on MacGowan's "Haunted." First recorded by the Pogues in 1995 with then-bassist Cait O'Riordan as lead vocalist, then re-recorded by MacGowan and O'Connor in 1996, the Hansard/May interpretation is even more powerful than its previous iterations. Watch and listen to the video below.

Source: © Shane MacGowan/YouTube

Haunted - Glen Hansard & Imelda May

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Elsewhere in the show, Billy Bragg had fellow artists dancing with his glorious "A Rainy Night Night In Soho" and Americana singer-songwriter Josh Ritter brought "The Broad Majestic Shannon," an upbeat MacGowan song from the Pogues' 1988 album If I Should Fall From Grace With God. The Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano opened the show with MacGowan's "A Pair of Brown Eyes."

The Hold Steady's Craig Finn and the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle gave their duet rendition of "Sally MacLennane" a bit of heavenly nostalgia. The inevitable singalongs for "Fairytale of New York" and "Dirty Old Town" were led by O'Riordan and Hansard. Whereas soul singer Bettye LaVette lent her legendary voice to O'Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" in an atmosphere that reminded everyone what a striking, individualistic character O'Connor was.

qsinead oconnorshane macgowan interview pat kenny
Source: © Screenshot via YouTube

MacGowan and O'Connor on RTE's 'Kenny Live,' April 1995.


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