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forever young

'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.

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.

“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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