The vocal effect used in the song Zombie by the Cranberries is known as ‘keening’. This is a wailing sound used in Ireland to mourn the dead at funerals.

Zombie (The Cranberries song)

“Zombie” is a protest song by Irish alternative rock band the Cranberries, written in memory of the two young victims who were killed in the 1993 Warrington bombings, Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry. It was released in September 1994 as the lead single from their second studio album, No Need to Argue, two weeks ahead of the album’s release. Music critics have long recognized “Zombie” by the Cranberries as “a masterpiece of alternative rock”.

The song was written by the band’s lead singer Dolores O’Riordan and reached No. 1 on the charts of Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Iceland, as well as on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song was voted by Triple J listeners as No. 1 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 1994 char… Continue Reading (25 minute read)

10 thoughts on “The vocal effect used in the song Zombie by the Cranberries is known as ‘keening’. This is a wailing sound used in Ireland to mourn the dead at funerals.”

  1. WellysBoot

    The word keening comes from the Irish “caoineadh”, pronounced like “queena” and it means crying or a lament. There you go, a little fact you probably didn’t really need to know.

  2. el_LOU

    RIP Dolores. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since she passed.

  3. dreamsofmary

    Which part of the song? All of it? The EY EY EY EY O

  4. Caraes_Naur

    Keening is related to the Irish mythology of bean sidhe (banshees).

  5. kombatunit

    I love her singing. R.I.P.

  6. PearShapedComics

    There’s nothing worse than getting a Cranberries song stuck IN YOUR HEEEEAD. IN YOUR HEEEEEAEAD.

  7. Downgoesthereem

    This WAS a wailing practise at funerals, way in the past. It’s not a thing anymore. People don’t wail deliberately at Irish funerals now. It comes from the Irish word ‘caoineadh’ meaning to cry

  8. barbarianbuddha

    Keening is also an Andy Bernard specialty.

  9. burquenoz

    Sounds like it. RIP beautiful lady. Many of us especially myself nearly drunk drown in a bath tub, pool, hot tub, lake you name it

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