A legend in her homeland of Ireland, Mary Black has long held the attention of the followers of Irish Music as one of the finest female vocalists in the world.
Mary Black's distinguished career has spanned over 20 years from her early days in Dublin folk clubs through ever-escalating success with nine platinum solo albums one of which - No Frontiers - spent fifty-six weeks in the Irish Top 30. Needless to say Mary Black is a seminal figure in Irish musical history and one of the artists responsible for it's relatively recent blossoming on a global level.
Mary released her first eponymous solo album in 1983. It reached No.4 in the Irish Charts and is ranked among the best Irish albums of the early 1980's. It won for her the Irish Independent Arts Award for Music, the first in a staggering list of Music Awards that have continued to the present day.
After a successful period working with traditional band "De Dannan", she reunited with producer/guitarist Declan Sinnott to record her second solo album " Without the Fanfare" in 1985. This established what has become a Mary Black trademark - her ability to discover some of Ireland's finest contemporary song-writing talent and through her remarkable voice project
the songs onto a world stage. The San Francisco Chronicle later called her "One of the best interpretative singers around".
"By The Time It Get's Dark" in 1987 saw Mary extending her repertoire, adding songs by the likes of Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny to the wealth of Irish song writing talent. Yet to all of the material Mary Black brought her own unique Irish combination of the ethereal and the earthy. The Telegraph described her voice as "Serene and achingly beautiful".
"No Frontiers" followed and proved to be one of Ireland's best selling albums of 1989. It also established Mary in new markets in Europe the US and Japan. A new release from Mary Black became not just another album but a much anticipated event. "Babes in the Wood" in 1991 went straight to No.1 in the Irish charts and led to two sell-out shows at the Royal Albert
Hall. Touring the UK for the first time Mary received superlative reviews from The Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph.
Each album seemed to surpass its predecessors. "The Holy Ground" in 1993 went platinum on the day of its release. Subsequently Mary played 5 sell-out shows at the Point Theatre in Dublin to an audience of 20,000 in one week. "Circus" in 1995 went straight to No.16 in the British charts, becoming her biggest selling album to date.
Perhaps more gratifying than the habitual awards and recognition bestowed on this hardworking, unpretentious singer, is the respect and admiration of fellow artists. Mary has recorded and performed live with Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joan Baez and Van Morrison.
Her '97 release, "Shine", saw Mary Black taking something of a new direction. It is the first she has recorded without the production skills of Declan Sinnott, ending a fruitful association that went back more than a decade. Mary turned to Larry Klein, the renowned American producer whose credits include Joni Mitchell, Chaka Khan, Tina Turner and Shawn Colvin, to
produce the album. Recorded in Los Angeles in late 1996, many have judged it one of her finest works.
With "Speaking with the Angel" Mary returned more toward her roots while continuing to bring some of Ireland's best songwriters into the spotlight, once again interpreting the songs of her personal favourites such as Shane Howard, Noel Brazil and Steve Cooney. Summing up its review of this album Ireland's leading music magazine, Hot Press, said: "If it is a benchmark in excellence that you seek, a life-affirming statement, then this is the album for you. Staggering stuff".
In October 2001 Mary Black releases a mammoth 16 song collection, drawn from the last decade of her career. Included on this "Best of " album are two new recordings and Mary also offers us a bonus CD, a mix of live tracks, duets and studio recordings not previously available on any of her albums.
1983 - Irish Independent Arts Award
1986 - National Entertainment Awards / Best Female Artist
1987 - I.R.M.A. - Best Female Artist (Irish Recorded Music Awards)
1988 - I.R.M.A. - Best Female Artist
1992 - I.R.M.A. - Best Female Artist
1993 - Hot Press Awards - Best Irish Solo Artist
1993 - National Entertainment Personality of the Year.
1994 - I.R.M.A. - Best Female Artist
1994 - I.R.M.A. - Best Irish Album / The Holy Ground
1994 - Belfast Telegraph E.M.A. - Best Irish Solo Artist
1996 - I.R.M.A. - Best Female Artist.
2000 - Irish Music Magazine -Best Female Artist
2003 - Irish Music Magazine - Best Contemporary Female & Best TV Programme/Documentary on Still Believin
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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