Song of the Week – Mandinka, Sinead O’Connor


In 1987 Sinead O’Connor burst onto the music scene with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra. The 20 year old Irish lass with the shaved head and tattoos made it clear from the start that she would be an unconventional force to be reckoned with. That album did OK in the US, reaching #36 on the Billboard album chart and spawning a couple of singles that were popular on modern rock radio and in dance clubs.

A few years later O’Connor scored big time on MTV with Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” from her second album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. Everyone remembers the video close ups with her striking blue eyes and the tear drops that delicately roll down her cheeks toward the song’s sad conclusion.

But let’s get back to The Lion and the Cobra for today’s SotW, “Mandinka.”

“Mandinka” reached #14 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart at a time that I was a club DJ in Boston. It was one of my favorite tracks to spin.

Some people have interpreted the song to be a protest against the African Mandinkan tribe’s tradition of female genital mutation.

I have refused to take part
I told them “drink something new”
Please let me pull something through

I don’t know no shame
I feel no pain
I can’t

It would be no surprise if that wat the topic given O’Connor’s penchant for courting controversy. In 1992 she appeared on Saturday Night Live and tore up a picture of the Pope and tossed it at the camera to protest sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

In the late 90s she was ordained a priest in Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, which is not part of the Roman Catholic Church (that does not allow women to become priests).

As recently as 2014/15, O’Connor has released new music that has received nominations for music industry awards.

Enjoy… until next week.

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