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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at and a music writer for and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the WCHS TV show “207” to talk of course.

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Posted: February 12, 2018

Wish that you’d lingered, Dolores

Written by: Aimsel Ponti

Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries


It was a crushing blow, to say the very least, to learn that singer Dolores O’Riordan had died in mid-January, and I’m still wrestling with it. I’m also regretting that I never saw her band, The Cranberries, live, though their recording studio was pointed out to me several years ago when I visited Ireland.

Like most of the world, I first heard The Cranberries when their debut album “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?” was released in 1993. And despite the massive radio airplay, I still adore every second of the album’s first single, “Linger,” with its strings and that longing in O’Riordan’s striking voice.

I also will never forget the first time I saw the 1995 film “Boys on the Side.” There’s a driving scene with Whoopi Goldberg and Mary Louise Parker going over a bridge with the song “Dreams” playing, and it’s perfect.

And then there’s the final scene in Robert Altman’s 1994 film “Ready to Wear (Prêt-à-Porter),” involving fashion models on a runway making a very bold statement while a remix of the song “Pretty” plays. The scene is haunting and beautiful, and the track remains my favorite Cranberries one.

I must also give a shout-out to “Waltzing Back” with O’Riordan’s siren of a voice wailing. The Cranberries followed up “Everybody” with “No Need to Argue” and most certainly avoided the sophomore slump, with songs like “Ode to my Family,” “Ridiculous Thoughts,” “Dreaming My Dreams” and the always-fun-to-sing-along-with “Zombie.” The album’s title track closes out the record on a sparse, hymn-like note.

Here’s a live version of “Dreaming My Dreams”

On Friday night, fans of O’Riordan and The Cranberries are invited to give her a musical send-off at Portland House of Music. Singer Anna Shedd, of Anna Rose and The Rhythm Rebels, put the show together, and I reached out to her to talk about the impact of O’Riordan’s music and what the show will be about.

Shedd said she discovered The Cranberries in the ’90s like other teenage girls. “There was something so different about the sound they were sending out to the universe. It was as if they could hear the thoughts in my mind and were singing them straight to me,” said Shedd, who is pretty sure she wore the CD out. “I used to drive around in my cherry red Caravan blasting ‘Zombie’ on repeat.”

Shedd said she shares my adoration of “Ridiculous Thoughts.” “I really love the mesh between the sweet melodies and booming bass,” she said and added that the track “No Need to Argue” makers her cry every time she hears it.

Here’s “No Need to Argue”

Shedd was classically trained in opera and had dreams of become the next Maria Callas before realizing her voice was better suited to rock and roll. She said that O’Riordan’s singing was the first time she heard soft, melodic descants on top of grunge rock. “It made me feel empowered as a woman. She was able to transport you into the being of her emotion with her voice. Sounding soft and then screaming you back to reality, she gave me a voice that I didn’t know existed as a classical singer.” Shedd said there really wasn’t that mesh between Irish traditional sounds and hard rock before The Cranberries came along.

Shedd fronted a band called X-Ray Actress for a spell and has sung in many different shows over the past several years. (Side note: I adored X-Ray Actress and still play them on my WCLZ local music show.) These days, Shedd says, she mostly sings to her chicken, named Sweet Pea.

For the O’Riordan/Cranberries show, Shedd said, the lineup consists of guitarist Scott Girouard, bassist Luke Finnemore, Geoffrey Ives on keys and drummer Chuck Prinn.

If you go to this show you’ll also catch performances by the band Neon Gypsy and Papa Tim & The Desperate Man Blue’s Explosion. And it will feature quite a few special guests, including Zara Boss, whom Shedd described as a 14-year-old rising star.

Also on hand will be Renee Coolbrith, Vanessa Bresson, Satanic Pixie Dream Girl, Monique Gaudet, Erica Haywood, Michelle Breton Caminos and Janine McGrath.

“It’s a great lineup,” Shedd said. “I am honored to have them all be part of this show. So much love and heart has gone into the project.”

Shedd said the event came to be because she was stunned to hear of O’Riordan’s passing. “So many woman were touched deeply by her music,” she said. “I really wanted to put together a show that celebrates that music, a place where we could all come together as a community.” Shedd said the goal of the night is not to mourn her death, but to share love for her and the music of The Cranberries. “We’ll be playing the hits, but we have slipped in some others for the die-hard Cranberries fans.”

What’s more, the show is a benefit for the Animal Rescue League of Greater Portland as a way of giving back. “I adopted my dog Argos from them, and he is such a special part of my life. I also have three rescued kittens.” Shedd said there are many animals that need homes and need love. “People should find out for themselves and go visit them. You never know, you could find your new best friend.”

I’ll end with a line from yet another beloved Cranberries song, “When You’re Gone”: “But I’ll miss you when you’re gone/That is what I do/And it’s going to carry on …”

We surely do miss you, Dolores, but we’ll never forget you and your contributions. And life will carry on with your songs forever etched in our hearts. And that most certainly will linger.

“Ode to My Family” – A celebration of the life and music of Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $8 in advance, $12 at the door, 21-plus

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