Pop: A lesson in Corr values

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Sharon Corr's voice is a cheery ding-dong bell down the line - a sound that puts one in mind of Colgate smile, got-my-act-together air hostesses grinning from Aer Lingus billboards. Like the rest of The Corrs - a multi-million selling quartet of singers from County Louth - she's uncomplicatedly exuberant, and years of business shenanigans have created a professional toughie. The week before, The Corrs had toured Australia and New Zealand, a blitzkrieg of sell-out gigs, in-store appearances and autograph scribbling in the sweltering heat. It was the sort of schedule which helped shift two million copies of their 1995 debut album Forgiven Not Forgotten, and undoubtedly will see the second, Talk On Corners, eventually go one better.

"I've had the last few days off, which is a pretty odd feeling because we rarely get them, so I hardly know what to do with myself," Sharon admits. "I'm just going to give the flat a good spring clean from top to bottom." Since forming in the early 1990s, siblings Caroline, Andres, Jim and Sharon Corr have become a phenomenon. By blending traditional Irish folkery with the kind of bright, memorable pop that gets stadium venues bulging at the seams, they've become an irresistible magnet for the Irish and wannabe Irish diaspora scattered all over Britain's former colonies and, er, Japan.

But, for the most part, they are still an unknown quantity in Britain despite the Top 10 placing of Talk On Corners, partly because the post- Britpop Radio One won't play them. But they are optimistic. "There haven't been an awful lot of bands who've done what we're doing - it's only ever been the extremes, like Riverdance and Enya, or The Pogues.

"We do mainstream music with an Irish flavour. England will open up to it when they've been exposed to it." And exposed to it they will be on St Patrick's Night, when BBC1 broadcasts The Corrs Royal Albert Hall gig. "It's like a dream come true, we're all really delighted," she enthuses. She recalls the thrill of a St Patrick Day past in New York at the massive parades and the dyeing of rivers green, in order that Americans can "Reclaim their roots and be obnoxiously patriotic for one day," but this will top all that. And Mick Fleetwood will be lending a hand. "This was only thought about three months ago, but it's gathered momentum and turned into something huge. It'll be nerve-wracking for the band, but great for everybody else."

Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 (0171-589 8212) 17 Mar