MUSIC: Singing to a Silent Harp

Dolores O'Riordan, Sinead O'Connor and Katell Keineg carry on the great Irish tradition of glorious voices

From rebellions to potato famines, Ireland is a place with a long history of hardship and an equally long tradition of singing about it. As a defining cultural activity, singing is for the Irish what baseball is for Americans or chess is for the Russians. Ireland's national symbol is a harp, the instrument used to accompany a singer, and the national genius, James Joyce, was probably more vain about his voice than his prose style.

Three singers who have among the most glorious voices in pop music are carrying on the Irish vocal tradition. Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of the rock...

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