‘There Are No Words’ by Kitty Donohoe

“There Are No Words” is the enchanting single from folk singer Kitty Donohoe. A stunning song that runs parallel to the 20th anniversary of the September 11 tragedies, “There Are No Words” dances along like an ethereal sonic journey. Donohoe’s magical vocal prowess, sewn together with the intricate Irish music bed, caresses the listener like a comforting tale. Trickling along like a flood of memories, “There Are No Words” is an emotional mirror that challenges the listener to face the past and look towards the future. 

Clutching the message is Donohoe’s hauntingly beautiful voice. It’s hard to forget her siren call, her gorgeous harmonies. Her natural cadence is warm. This song oozes sentimentality, yes, but it also has glimpses of hope. The soothing, lullaby-like sound of the uilleann pipes cut through the center of the song. It’s a poignant pierce, and not daunting like the Scottish bagpipes sound. The uilleann pipes are like a twinkling spring, what I imagine is the sound of a million sun rays hitting the dark, murky waters. It’s an enlightened sound – again that comforting tone.

Supposing you didn’t know the backstory of this song, it’s tribute to 9/11, you might find that this song more than adequately finds the words (no intention on my part to be trite with this), to echo the sorrow and hurt of loss. This song is a beacon of hope, a guiding light to follow Donohoe’s voice down numerous paths. Wherever this song takes it, it will likely take you to a contemplative state. This year, it feels different, it sounds like the time is right to remind a whole new generation of listeners that the pain might be in our rear view mirrors, but it’s still there. And maybe it’s closer than we want to admit.


Donohoe makes the listener feel safe. When she sings “and when the stars have burned to dust, hand in hand we still will stand because we must” it’s an aha-moment. It’s head-turning. This empowering statement, so poignantly woven into the vibe this song elicits, an almost tangible transport. Again, one would be inclined to believe this song is a folk-tune to honor grief. I’m simply beguiled by Donohoe’s vocals, a stirring reminder that her pain is nearly swallowed up by the flowing Irish-folk bedrock. The undercurrent is a welcoming escape. 

“There Are No Words” coincides with the September 11th milestone, and it’s also not exactly a new song for Donohoe. The Michigan Emmy Winner actually wrote the song years ago, and this is the first time it’s been released as a single. Initially written and performed for a coffeehouse gig, an intimate show in East Lansing, the Michigan State University campus was given a memorable performance. Donohoe would later incorporate the song into the WDIV Detroit show “Flashpoint” and earn an Emmy. The song was also used in the indie film “A Nation Remembers: The Story of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.” She would then go onto sing the song live in 2008 at a memorial, where guests included President Bush. “There Are No Words” is also featured on Donohoe’s Northern Border album (2008). 

Gwen Waggoner