Chinese musicians, fans mourn Cranberries singer O'Riordan

Chinese musicians, fans mourn Cranberries singer O'Riordan
PHOTO: Reuters

The sudden death of Dolores O'Riordan, the 46-year-old lead singer of the popular Irish rock band The Cranberries, shocked many Chinese fans and fellow musicians after hearing of O'Riordan's passing on Monday.

The band, especially the lead singer's voice and singing style, has influenced many Chinese musicians.

One is Chinese pop icon Faye Wong, whose covering of The Cranberries' song Dreams helped people see her as a pioneering singer when her career started in Hong Kong in 1994.

Her imitation of O'Riordan's silky voice, feverish high pitch and willowy whisper, as well as a cropped haircut, enabled her to blow into the Chinese pop music industry like a fresh breeze. The recording immediately distinguished Wong from other female singers.

Other Chinese musicians, who were inspired by the band and the lead singer, include Beijing-based singer-songwriter Li Yuchun, who covered the band's hit song Zombie on her 2005 talent show.

Founded in 1989 by brothers Mike and Noel Hogan, the band changed their name from The Cranberries Saw Us to The Cranberries after vocalist O'Riordan joined. They soon became one of the most popular Irish acts in the United States with their debut album, Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We?, which sold more than 5 million copies in the US alone.

O'Riordan, who was born and grew up in Limerick, Ireland, began to collaborate with other musicians, launching a solo album in 2007. Noel Hogan started a new band and turned to producing. The other two members also continued their careers as musicians and producers by working with other bands.

The members didn't set a timeline for a reunion until 2009, when O'Riordan called Mike and Noel Hogan about doing a casual performance with her. They found it felt good to play the old songs again.

Photo: Reuters

Shortly after their reunion, the band gave two concerts in Shanghai and Beijing in July 2011 as part of their Asian tour that year, their first on the Chinese mainland. The band performed unforgettable tunes, including Ode to My Family, Dreams, Zombie and Linger, as well as four tracks from their then-upcoming album, Roses, released in 2012.

"We are really excited about going to China," said guitarist Noel Hogan in an interview with China Daily before the band left for China in 2011.

"Everything goes right for The Cranberries, the timing, the people and the music," he said of the band's reunion.

In 2017, The Cranberries had to cancel their China tour due to a "back problem" O'Riordan had. The band apologised to fans and wrote they were disappointed in the turn of events.

"Thanks for the many good wishes to Dolores posted on our social pages since the announcement of the cancellation of all our summer shows up to mid-August due to her ongoing back problems," the band wrote on their Sina Weibo account June 19.

The band opened their Sina Weibo account, which has nearly 90,000 followers, before they came to China in 2011.

"I visited Dolores in Limerick, who was recovering from back problems. Along with Dolores and Noel, the guitarist of the band, we talked a lot about the past and future. Dolores is almost recovered and she hoped to return to China in November. She loves China," wrote renowned Chinese singer-songwriter Gao Xiaosong Sept 3, on his Sina Weibo account with more than 40 million followers.

After hearing the death of O'Riordan, he wrote "it was shocking and sad to hear the news about the passing of Dolores O'Riordan. I cannot believe our meeting last year was the last goodbye. I miss her singing, which is so unforgettable and unique."

He also notes that she once used the singer's hit song, Zombie, to open his online talk show, Xiao Shuo, to pay tribute to the legendary singer.

Other Chinese fans shared their memories and favourite Cranberries lyrics online.

"Rest in peace, Dolores. You will be missed," wrote a Chinese netizen.

"I bought all the CDs of The Cranberries when I was in university and now I listened to Zombie on repeat. What a voice and what a big loss to the music world," wrote another.

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