A Reflection on The Cranberries’ Tribute

Emma Langford speaks about the beautiful atmosphere at last night’s tribute gig for Dolores O’Riordan.

Emma Langford basks in the hot, morning sun in the back garden of her Limerick home. Not even her intense hangover and fatigue can overpower the warm, loving vibes from the previous night. As a woman from Limerick, it held a special place in her heart.

“There was a beautiful ark in the energy and a gorgeous reverence in the room.”

Plans for the gig began on a Friday in January, when Langford played at a charity event for a suicide and self-harm prevention center. Along with Hermitage Green and original Cranberry Noel Hogan, the group ended the night by performing the classic Cranberries hits ‘Zombie’ and ‘Linger’.

Sadly, that following Monday, lead singer of the The Cranberries Dolores O’Riordan was found dead in her London hotel room. Langford knew Limerick needed to honour her memory.

“As a woman in music, Dolores will always be a shadow on everything that happens in your career. She was kind of an unconscious role model.”

“She stayed true to herself, sometimes to her own detriment. It was really encouraging and inspiring to see a woman in music sticking to her guns and doing what was right for her.”

The night featured a diverse spread of female artists who brought their own unique renditions of O’Riordan’s songs to the stage. A duo of violinists from the band Strung gave an electrifying performance of ‘Zombie’, setting the tone for the night. Nimf performed an ambient, trippy version of ‘Yeats Grave, with a set of synthesizers and vocal effects, while Jane Fraser played audio clips of O’Riordan’s interviews while singing ‘Pretty’. There was even a barbershop quartet remix of ‘Daffodil Lament’.

According to Langford, one of the standout performances came from the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra. The frontwoman Ann Blake had sung of O’Riordan’s wedding years earlier and got married herself to her wife this very week. It was an especially emotional set that also honored Limerick’s Pride Week.

“The different renditions did justice to the meaning of the songs. Everyone put so much effort to put their own skin on the songs.”

As for Langford’s own performance, she and her band chose to sing ‘When Your Gone’, which they felt captured the fans’ love of the music. The track also reflected Langford’s personal struggles of maintaining her self-esteem and personal relationships while touring as an independent artist.

“Our rendition was all about the close harmony and communication between us: three women playing tribute to one woman.”

A myriad fans and other admirers of O’Riordan came to show their support. A decent chunk of the performers, including Langford, went to the same school that O’Riordan did and were delighted to see their old music teacher at the gig. Even Niall Quinn, an original member of the cranberries, attended and tweeted his approval. The event acted as a cathartic experience for those who were still processing O’Riordan’s death.

All proceeds from the event went to Adapt House, a domestic violence support service, and Limerick Mental Health, which ORidion cared deeply about. Langford also spoke about making the gig an annual tribute to the dent that Limerick has made on the global music scene.

“In Ireland we have a tradition, at wakes, that involves staying up until the wee small hours of the morning and celebrating someone’s life in the best way possible: with a few pints. I think that definitely happened.”


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