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Sinéad bound for Melbourne with new Aussie hubbie

Sinead O'Connor and new husband Steve Cooney

Singer Sinéad O’Connor has married for a third time, tying the knot last weekend with Ireland-based Australian Steve Cooney.

As luck would have it, she is headed for Cooney’s home town of Melbourne in October to take part in the city’s International Arts Festival.

The marriage was announced on Sinead O’Connor’s website in typically esoteric style.

“We who run this site are very happy to announce the marriage of Steve Cooney and Sinead O’Connor has taken place this morning. Thanks be to the Great Lord Jah. Rastafarai. Dread I. Conquering lion I. One love,” it declared.

Steve Cooney is well known in traditional music circles in Ireland. He is an acclaimed and versatile musician who was included in the Irish Echo’s Top 100 Irish Australians Of All Time.

Sinéad O’Connor’s presence adds to the Irish flavour at this year’s Melbourne Festival. She will perform at the festival’s finale concert – Seven Songs to Leave Behind – and an Irish theatre company will perform the work of Samuel Beckett.

The concert takes place at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on October 23, with O’Connor heading up a stellar lineup including Velvet Underground founder John Cale and award-winning Indigenous performer Gurrumul Yunipingu, among others.

The concert organisers have asked the acts to reflect on themes of spirituality and mortality by performing seven songs that each would like ‘to leave behind’. O’Connor has been known for her outspoken views on religion, famously tearing up a photograph of Pope John Paul the II on America’s Saturday Night Live in 1992.

Ricki Lee Jones, Meshell Ndegeocello, Shelli Morris, Dan Sultan, Urusla Yovich and the Black Arm Band’s Leah Flanagan complete the concert bill.

O’Connor and the other acts will be joined by the Orchestra Victoria and a handpicked band of Australia’s finest musicians.

Her appearance is more good news for fans of Irish music down under, after the recent news that U2 are likely to tour here in December

Sinead O’Connor is not the only Irish influence at this year’s festival. Earlier in the festival run the Gare St Lazare Players, an Irish theatre company, will bring the work of Samuel Becket to Melbourne audiences.

The company have adapted three of Samuel Beckett’s works — Molly, Malone Dies and The Unamable — into a three-hour performance, The Beckett Trilogy. It will play at the Arts Centre Playhouse, October 14-16.

The company will also perform Beckett’s novella First Love as part of the Melbourne Festival’s regional tour, with dates at Bendigo’s Performing Arts Centre on October 19, Warrnambool Entertainment Centre on October 21 and the West Gippsland Arts Centre on October 23.

Director Judy Hegarty Lovett and actor Conor Lovett have worked together for the last 15 years on bringing nearly 20 Beckett titles to audiences around the world. The Gare St Lazare Players have previously toured Beckett’s work in the UK, France, Germany, Holland and China.

Tickets for the Seven Songs to Leave Behind concert range from $25 to $110. Tickets for The Beckett Trilogy range from $25 to $55. Booking for both can be made through the Melbourne Arts Centre at 1300 182 183 or at www.melbournefestival.com.au.

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