Sometimes even a song that’s been released years ago, circles its way back and makes an even bigger impression. Proving that time marches on, leaving us curiously wondering where it all went – “There Are No Words” from singer/songwriter Kitty Donohoe fills that space. Now, as communities mark the 20th year since September 11, 2001, Donohoe’s lyrics pull at the heartstrings, yet they elevate humanity’s experience. Almost spiritual, delivering a deep, emotional connection, “There Are No Words” first appeared in 2008 on Donohoe’s Northern Border album. Her message and the song’s intention is just as moving today as it was then.
Donohoe, who actually won a Michigan Emmy, when she presented the song in the WDIV Detroit show “Flashpoint”, and performed the song live for such dignitaries as former President George W. Bush at a 2008 memorial, simply captivates the listener. She’s stoic yet possesses evolving melodies. The immediate reaction is that you’re listening to an Irish folk song, a distinct tone that is embellished by the pipes (I believe the instrument is called the uilleann pipes.) The rich tones reach vibrant lengths, and so lovingly compliments the sensitive Donohoe vocals. Her loyalty to the lyrics, her poise is remarkable. An aura of sadness surrounds her.
She awakens something – she uplifts. A universal theme – loss, grief and starting over – “There Are No Words” explores several emotional ranges. It's quiet beauty, the underlying modesty, speaks loudly. When you wrap yourself into the veil of Donohoe’s Irish melodies, the feeling is quickly elevated by the aforementioned pipes and the gleaming rhythms. Very traditional sounding, yet ideally modern, if you’re a fan of the moving tales of Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray, Judy Collins or Bob Dylan, this extraordinary poet is right up your alley. They all have a way with words, and this song proves to be among giants when it comes to storytelling and communicating with audiences. This song lingers when she repeats there are no words, as if she were writing the words to the side of a building. They mean more than what she lets on and it's up to the listener to explore for themselves just how those words are. The challenge of course, when one is so frail and devastated, to find a way out of the rubble to press on and move forward.
So much of this song feels like it’s healing the listener. It’s like a gentle touch, or smile from across the room to remind one to keep going. The way the music moves, like a steady stream, it’s movement is forward. Always going forward. “There Are No Words” is like finding out that you’re not alone. It’s discovering a new leaf to turn over, a new phase in the stage of grief. It’s that outstretched hand, or in this case, this voice tethered to a floating symphonic garden. Donohoe is honest and authentic – and her song “There Are No Words” champions the survivors and those that were lost decades ago. This is a song for now. My words don’t do this song justice.
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