A previously unreleased track from Sinéad O’Connor was aired over the weekend in the finale episode of The Woman In The Wall, a six-part BBC drama focusing on maltreatment and cruelty at the hands of the Catholic churches of Ireland.
The track is said to be one of O’Connor’s final ever recordings before her untimely death in July at the age of 56, and was gifted to the producers of the BBC series before her death.
The Woman In The Wall looks at the Magdalene Laundries of Ireland, also known as the Magdalene asylums, which were run by Roman Catholic orders and operated from the 18th to the 20th century where an estimated 30,000 women were confined.
In ‘The Magdalene Song’, the posthumous track used in the BBC drama, O’Connor sings of the loss of her child, struggling with grief, and her own experiences in the church.
“The first half of the track is completely heartbreaking, and the second half is pure defiance,” her producer, David Holmes, told The Guardian.
“I stripped the song away to just Sinéad’s voice and then let the full power come in for the second half. It’s incredible how the meaning of the song came together with this story it was just meant to be,” he said. “There’s a certain magic when you bring music to an emotive story.”
He continued: “Sinéad sanctioned the track for use before they had even started shooting, and when the producers heard it they were amazed to have something so strong. We all felt the only place this can go is at the end.”
O’Connor legally changed her name to Shuhada' Sadaqat in 2021 after converting to Islam in 2018, but continued to record, release and perform music under her birth name.
The Woman In The Wall is out now via BBC. Watch it back on iPlayer here.
Listen to 'The Magdalene Song' below.