Midland Cultural Centre presents
Mon · August 7, 2017
Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pmRotary Hall
$60.00 - $65.00
For over 25 years, Mary Black has been a dominant presence in Irish music. She has played a frontline role in bringing Irish music to an ever-growing global audience. At a time when less adventurous performers preferred to stick to the well-worn ballads from Ireland's rich music heritage, Mary explored the best work available from new composers. This fresh material combined with her unique interpretation, saw her release numerous award-winning albums that spawned countless hits. One of Mary's albums, "No Frontiers", spent more than a year in the Irish Top 30. Black's impressive career includes seven platinum solo albums and collaborations with artists such as Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joan Baez and Van Morrison, and a host of traditional Irish musicians and singers. The San Francisco Chronicle has described her as "One of the best interpretative singers around".http://midlandculturalcentre.ticketfly.com/event/1467512/
both at home and abroad. She has shared stages, TV shows and recording studios with some
of the most revered performers of her time. She has also played a frontline role in bringing Irish
music, past and present, to an increasingly appreciative and ever-growing global audience. The
San Francisco Chronicle has described her as “one of the best interpretative singers around."
At a time when less adventurous performers preferred to stick exclusively to the well-worn
ballads from Ireland’s rich music heritage and the more obvious hits from contemporary writers,
Mary explored the best work available from new composers and mined the rich seams they
offered. That commitment to fresh material, combined with her unique interpretations of the
songs she chooses, saw her release numerous albums that achieved Platinum sales status and
spawned countless hits. Indeed, one of Mary’s albums—NO FRONTIERS—spent more than a
year in the Irish Top 30.
To the acclaim and awards Mary has received over the years from both the public and the critics
must also be added the esteem she has generated from her fellow artists. Indeed, many of
them have recorded and performed live with her, including Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin
Carpenter, Joan Baez and Van Morrison, not to mention a host of Irish traditional musicians and
singers. Along the way she has also recorded and performed with her siblings in The Black
Family and with her highly successful sister Frances.
Coming from an intensely musical family, with her mother a fine singer and her father an
entertaining fiddle player, Mary first came to the music public’s attention in the late ‘70s as a
member of the group General Humbert with whom she recorded and toured. In 1983, she
teamed up with guitarist/producer Declan Sinnott (later to become Christy Moore’s musical
sidekick) and released her eponymously-named debut solo album. It reached No. 4 in the Irish
charts and is ranked among the best Irish albums of the early 1980's. It won her the Irish
Independent Arts Award for Music, the first in a staggering sequence of awards that continue to
come her way.
Mary then joined an early incarnation of the legendary Irish folk group De Danann, with whom
she made two acclaimed albums. She re-united with Declan Sinnott (formerly of the pioneering
Horslips) to record her second solo album WITHOUT THE FANFARE in 1985. That album
achieved Gold sales status. 1987 saw the release of her first multi-Platinum album BY THE
TIME IT GETS DARK and lead to The Telegraph in the UK describing her voice as "serene and
achingly beautiful." By now a household name throughout Ireland, she was named Entertainer
of the Year in 1986 and Best Female Artist in 1987 and 1988.
But her popularity reached a new level with the release of the pioneering album NO
FRONTIERS in 1989. It generated triple-Platinum sales as Mary's reputation began spreading
far beyond her native shores to Europe, Australia, Japan and the U.S., thanks to her superb
stage shows and the success of her recordings in those markets. BABES IN THE WOODS
came in 1991, arriving in the Irish charts in the No 1 slot, and was followed by two sell-out
shows at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall. Her UK concerts prompted hugely positive
reviews from The Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph. She was also featured on the cover
of the U.S. music trade magazine Billboard which described her as “a firm favorite to join the
heavy-hitting ranks of such Irish artists as Enya, Sinéad O’Connor and Clannad's Máire
Brennan in the international marketplace.” They were right.
Not surprisingly, her next album THE HOLY GROUND in 1993 went Platinum on the day of its
release, followed by five sell-out shows at the Point Theatre in Dublin to an audience of 20,000.
Her next album CIRCUS in 1995 entered the British Top 20 album charts. But ever one to seek
new challenges, Mary invited renowned American producer Larry Klein to produce her 1997
album SHINE which she recorded in Los Angeles.
SPEAKING WITH THE ANGEL followed in 1999, her unerring ear for quality contemporary
songs unearthing new material by composers Shane Howard, Noel Brazil and Steve Cooney.
As 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 2002, Mary was the subject of the revealing documentary Still Believing. It celebrated her
extraordinary life in music, tracing her progress from her birthplace in Dublin’s inner city on a
journey that has seen her conquer the musical world. Its recording was followed by a video of
Mary and her band filmed on the final night of a triumphant week-long run at the Olympia
Theatre in Dublin—one of Mary’s favorite venues. (The documentary and the live show were
released together as Mary Black Live and accompanied by a live audio CD recorded at various
venues around the world.)
In 2005, Mary moved to West Kerry to record her first studio album in six years, FULL TIDE. It
not only included songs by some of her favorite writers such as Bob Dylan, but it saw her make
her debut as a composer in her own right. As Hot Press magazine said of it, “Mary Black is just
hitting her vocal prime, singing with a newfound ease and confidence.”
2008 marked the 25th anniversary of Mary's first solo album, and to celebrate the momentous
occasion, Mary released a special compilation double album 25 YEARS/25 SONGS. It featured
a personal, hand-picked selection of gems spanning Mary's career, and it still serves as a
testament to the extraordinary range and quality of both her vocal prowess and her astute song
selection. Mary recorded two brand new songs for the project, and the album went straight to
No. 1 in the Irish charts, where it remained for a staggering five weeks, spending over seven
months in the Irish top 40!
In 2011, Mary Black returned to the studio for the first time in six years to record STORIES
FROM THE STEEPLES. She once again mined diverse material from both established and
emerging songwriters to produce an album that the UK’s Polari Magazine said “will entertain,
sadden, mystify and delight in equal portion and will leave a scar that may just ‘last forever.’”
The UK magazine What Hi-Fi? considers Mary Black's voice to be so pure that they have
repeatedly used it for comparing the sound quality of different high fidelity systems. In an
industry noted for its fickleness and its almost insatiable need for fresh novelties, Mary Black’s
enduring successes have proven that her depth of talent and her love of singing transcend the
generations, as well as national and musical boundaries too. She is indeed a real Irish treasure
and her talent a gift from Ireland to a grateful world.
333 King St.
Midland, ON, L4R 3M7