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'Bob, a chara' — President Michael D Higgins sings Dylan's praises as the songwriter turns 80

The Rolling Stones and Sinead O’Connor have also paid tribute.

Image: PA

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has added his voice to a chorus of international tributes to Bob Dylan on the occasion of the singer-songwriter’s 80th birthday today.

In an open letter — beginning with the salutation “Bob, a chara” — President Higgins warmly praised the Nobel laureate for his “linking of the American folk tradition to moral, economic and political challenges”.

“As one 80-year-old to another, and as one poet to another, I felt I should share with you my view that the best poem on an 80-year-old is William Wordsworth’s poem ‘Michael’, which deals with the consequences of the enclosures in England in the 18th Century, and their making of a working class of men, women and children for the factory system at the cost of intimate rural life,” Higgins wrote.

“I feel it’s a beautiful work and would love some time to talk to you about it.

“In 2016, I said of you: ‘Bob Dylan’s linking of the American folk tradition to the moral, economic and political challenges has been a significant achievement, and the appeal of his music has been intergenerational.

“His lyrics, with their rhythms, have linked followers of country, jazz and rock to counter-cultural and politically engaged movements. In doing this, he has narrowed the space between the poetic, the musical and the political’.

“My opinion hasn’t changed.

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“Keep going. Good luck with everything. Traoslaím leat (I congratulate you). Beir Bua (May victory be yours).”

The Rolling Stones, Sinead O’Connor and Ron Sexsmith are also among a host of artists who have taken to social media to wish Dylan a happy birthday.

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