Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mother Bernadette Mary or Sinead O'Connor's Theology

In the world of controversial actions by musicians surely the Beatles saying they were bigger than Jesus is in one of the top slots. Not quite as high on the list, but certainly on the list would be when Sinead O'Connor in a 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live was singing the song "War" by Bob Marley, but instead of saying 'racism' she said 'sexual abuse' and upon saying the word evil tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II and threw it towards the camera.

The religious actions of O'Connor are not a mute point to Entertainment world. From her Quaker boarding school, O'Connor went on to be a founding member of the Dublin based band, Ton Ton Macoute, which was highly influenced with mysticism and world music. Prior to the 1992 SNL episode, O'Connor was already very distant from the Roman Catholic Church, clearly an important part of Ireland's cultural heritage. In 1990 O'Connor was ordained by an Independent Catholic group (wishing to be called Mother Bernadette Mary), which led to her being excommunicated from the Catholic church.

Her religious schizophrenicness/openness led her to leave music in 2003 to be a catechist (teacher of Catholic religion) and in 2005 she released the album Throw Down Your Arms which Sinead viewed as an activist album inspired by the Rastafarian beliefs that she claimed "Saved her faith."

On June 26, 2007 Sinead O'Connor (or shall we say Mother Bernadette Mary Marley) will be releasing an album called Theology. This unsurprisingly religious inspired album is two disk (the Dublin session (acoustic) and the London session (full band). An example of a song on the album is "33" based on Psalm 33 (available currently on her myspace page). This song is very good with only minor contemporizing (I don't think Psalm 33 originally said "turn up your bass amp," but of course who can identify with a "ten string lyre").

Other songs include "Rivers of Babylon" based on Psalm 137, and the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber song "I Don't Know How To Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar.

What do I think? Well, whether it's Kanye West posing as Jesus for Rolling Stones or using Secular Music in Sermons the interaction between faith and music certainly goes both ways just as much today as ever. While some people work out their faith through listening to music, some people work out their faith by making music. I can only hope that in the search Truth is found.

(discovered via ben via tsk)

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Unknown said...

I had never heard of Sinead O'Connor, but I just listened to "33" and I am her newest fan! What a beautiful song. She reminds me of Aimee Mann and Bird York. And I just bought some of her music on iTunes.

I bless you, RC, but my bank account curses you and surely O'Connor will as well as soon as my usual new musician(!) stalker-phase begins.

Southern (in)Sanity said...

I remember when O'Connor pulled her SNL stunt. Boy, she was popular after that one.

I think that music can tie into faith. What I wonder about sometimes is how many of these artists actually believe what they are talking about - and how many are just trying to cash in on others' beliefs.

Seth Ward said...

Great post! I'll check it out.

I confess that I have always been a sucker for her cover of "Nothing Compares."

Darrell said...

This is a great post. I'm convinced, though, that Sinead isn't really looking for the truth. I think she's just an angry woman looking for someone to blame.

Anonymous said...

Darrell, I think you're out of date. Her angry phase as a young woman is way over! THat was nearly 29 years ago :)

See this recent interview with her discussing her new album:

Anonymous said...

oops! I mean 20 years ago, not 29!

Anonymous said...

just a short update with a special website of this release: Here