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The Best from 25 Years on Vinyl

The Best from 25 Years on Vinyl

Delighted to see this double album available now on vinyl. I sang so many of these songs at the concerts we did recently…such amazing audiences and great fun - available here.


Review: Mary Black Live at the Ulster Hall, Belfast

Review: Mary Black Live at the Ulster Hall, Belfast

By: Micheal McGovern
Source: Folk and Tumble website

An expectant music-loving crowd filled the Ulster Hall waiting for Mary Black to produce her usual high calibre show. They were not to be disappointed. Indeed this gig surpassed her last stellar appearance at the same venue two years ago, before the world closed down.

Classic song followed fan favourite. Musical excellence, Mary’s natural charm, and supreme musicality were the watchwords for the evening. Richie Buckley’s saxophone, superb throughout the night, ushered in a quality version of ‘Another Day’.

‘Adam At The Window’ was followed by Mary relating an encounter with an irate “feminist” whose misinterpretation of the song led her to tell the singer that “Adam won’t have his way!”. The song is about a baby growing, rather than any misogyny. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s beautiful ‘The Moon And St. Christopher’, was delivered with such yearning and whimsy, that it was impossible not to be caught up in the sheer emotion of the song.

Shane Howard’s ‘Flesh And Blood’ provided a distinct pick up in the pace. It’s a pacey tale of communication and communion, and another jewel in the Mary Black catalogue. ‘No Frontiers’ was the first of two songs played with a backing track from The National Symphony Orchestra. Lifted from her ‘Orchestrated’ album, it took the song to a new level.

Mary and her sister Francis have a long history of being active in areas of social justice and activism, and Mary gives a glowing testament to a local charity – The People’s Kitchen – in Belfast, which supports people who are homeless and those on the periphery of society, and are collecting donations at the gig.

‘The Mountains And The Sea’ was a nice tie-in song to the charity’s work, as she sang of the importance of a home, and a place to lay one’s head. The greatest hits continued to come thick and fast, as one magical tune followed another.

A rueful ‘Circus’, the exuberance of ‘Carolina Rua’, and ‘Don’t Say Okay’, and a splendid reading of ‘Bright Blue Rose’, were all welcomed with rapturous applause.

But one of the biggest receptions of the evening was given to a stirring ‘Song For Ireland’, with Mary’s strong velvet-like voice, ringing clear as a bell around the old beloved venue.

The tempo changed constantly during the night, and the band was quite magnificent throughout, marshalled by the great Bill Shanley on guitar, the aforementioned Richie Buckley, Pat Crowley on keys, Nick Scott on bass, and apparently dispatched with some speed as a very late replacement on drums, Rod Quinn. An extended play on ‘Fat Valley Of Pain’ allowed each musician to really show what they can do.

Micheal McGovern, who had earlier delivered a fine opening support slot, returned to the stage to help Mary with a rallying cry for the oppressed that is Bob Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’.

Mary dedicated the song to her sister Frances, who continues to fight on behalf of the Palestinian people, and the Afghan people fighting famine. It’s a hugely emotive song and sung with great conviction and gusto.

The reasons for Mary Black’s success and status as a musical and national icon are clear. The beautiful voice, obviously, her skill at choosing special material and making a song her very own, her assembly of a superbly talented band.

But perhaps more than anything else, Mary Black connects with people. Her songs are delivered with style, and charm, and always with good grace. Her songs resonate with folk and live long after the music has stopped. There is an ability to interpret a song and make it personal to each person in the room and bind them together in a common experience. That is a rare talent.

We are lucky to have her.

Tour going ahead

Tour going ahead

Hello dear friends,

I’m delighted to hear the news about the full reopening of theatres and events here in Ireland on the 22nd of October!

These have been tough and lean times for over 35,000 people who make their living from this sector.

Three times over the past 18 months our tour has been rescheduled but at last we’ve been given the green light and our tour is starting in Navan on October 22nd.

Our Olympia Theatre gig has been pushed back to October 31st and we’re working on rescheduling our Cork Opera House concert.

All details of our tour can be found on the concerts page of this site.

I’m so looking forward to getting back out there and seeing you all soon.

Mary x

No 1 in iTunes chart in Sweden

No 1 in iTunes chart in Sweden

"Woke up to see my latest album ‘Orchestrated’ No.1 in the Swedish iTunes chart! I thought my chart topping days were over 😜 😂

Hope you’re all doing ok out there and coping in these difficult times. 💕 "


Irish women come together on No Frontiers to support Womensaid

Irish women come together on No Frontiers to support Womensaid

"This is a special recording of female Irish artists in support of Womensaid, singing No Frontiers together in both Irish and English. It was great to be part of this effort for a very worthy cause."


Women's Aid is a leading national organisation that has been working in Ireland to stop domestic violence against women and children since 1974.

Watch the video in the Video section

New Song "Better Times Will Come"

New Song "Better Times Will Come"

Photo of Mary leaning against a wall and looking up towards the sky hopefully. With the text

"I was hugely honoured to be asked by my dear friend Janis Ian to be part of a project she’s doing called the ‘Better Times Project’.

She asked a number of her musician friends to record (at home) a version of a song she wrote recently.

Since our time touring together back in the 90’s in Holland and Germany, we became great friends and have stayed in touch down through the years.

Janis is a wonderfully warm and giving person, with a huge talent as a singer songwriter, known throughout the world.

The lyrics and message in this song are so relevant in these troubled times.

The Pearl Foundation in the U.S. is Janis’s preferred charity, however if people would like to donate in Ireland, I’d like to nominate womensaid.ie, a charity close to my heart.

Stay safe,


You can download a free copy of this song in the Discography section.

You can watch the video of the song in the Video section.

To donate to Women's Aid, please visit www.womensaid.ie

To view all other versions of this song in the Better Times project, please visit Janis Ian's website.

Mary Black Live in Bremen Video

Mary Black Live in Bremen Video

Hi Folks,

I hope you are all safe and well in these very strange and troubled times.

I was very disappointed to have to postpone the March and June gigs and it looks like the July dates won’t happen now either.

However, it’s for the good of all and hopefully it won’t be too long before I see some of you at one of my concerts in the future.

My friend Mike Wilson came upon a live concert from 1996 in Bremen which I had never seen before. I thought people might like the opportunity to see this, given that many of us have more time on our hands these days. You can find it on the site in the Video section.

Mark has kindly set it up for us ( thanks Mark )

With love and best wishes,


The Black Brother’s new album Glackanacker out now

The Black Brother’s new album Glackanacker out now

Mary’s brothers Shay and Michael, The Black Brothers, recorded a new album Glackanacker which has been released.

Brilliantly produced by John Doyle, this new album features a wonderful variety of songs—traditional & original, comical & beautiful. Brothers Shay and Michael, with talented band members Eamonn Flynn and Félim Egan, are joined here by other stellar musicians, including Colm O'Riain (fiddle, viola), Mick McCauley (accordion), Mike McGoldrick (pipes and whistles), John McCusker (fiddle), Duncan Wickel (cello), and Rick Epping (harmonica).

On backing vocals they are joined by Mary and Frances Black, Martin Black, Roisin O, Aoife and Eoghan Scott, Shosi Black, and Ciara Black.

The Black Brother’s website has also been completely redesigned and now it’s design is complementary to the design of Glackanacker.

You can find all details about the new album here where you can also order the album in the webshop, listen to soundclips of all the new tracks and even download the online-only bonus track “Roller Bowler”.

Mary coming back to Utrecht

Mary coming back to Utrecht

Mary is delighted to be coming back to The Tivoli (Utrecht, The Netherlands) again next October 10th.

She’ll be back with her all-star band playing favourite songs from her immense catalogue spanning over 30 years as well as showcasing songs from her new album ‘Mary Black Orchestrated’ with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra.

The Band:
Bill Shanley - guitars
Pat Crowley - piano and accordion
Nick Scott - Double bass
Richie Buckley - saxophones
Liam Bradley - drums and percussion

More details and tickets on the concerts page.

Vinyl Release of Mary Black Orchestrated

Vinyl Release of Mary Black Orchestrated

The album Mary Black Orchestrated will be released on vinyl on November 15th. The LP can already be pre-ordered in the webshop.

Mary Black Orchestrated Out Now

Mary Black Orchestrated Out Now

The album Mary Black Orchestrated with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra has been released on October 11th in shops and on digital streaming services.

You can also order the album here on this site.

'A great honour to have my favourite recordings orchestrated by the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Brian Byrne here at the National Concert Hall. Looking forward to the final result and a Mary Black Orchestrated album release in October.’ - Mary

New Mary Black documentary on RTÉ ONE

New Mary Black documentary on RTÉ ONE

The Documentary ‘Mary Black - No Frontiers’ airs tonight, Monday 9th of September at 21:35 on RTÉ One.

In this landmark documentary on Mary Black, widely regarded as the first lady of the Irish music industry, viewers are promised to gain a rare, unprecedented insight into her life and career.

This one-off programme gives us access to all elements of Mary’s life where, for the first time she opens up on topics close to her heart such as motherhood, mental health and the realities of being the biggest female singer in 1980s' Ireland.

From her early beginnings growing up in a tenement on Dublin’s Charlemont Street to her international success with songs such as A Song for Ireland and the blockbuster success of A Woman’s Heart, this is her journey from childhood to iconic Irish singer.

Contributors include a wide array of those closest to Mary: her husband and manager Joe O’Reilly, children Danny O’Reilly (lead singer with The Coronas), Roisin Ó and collaborator Eleanor McEvoy.

Performances include specially-recorded numbers featuring The Black Family, Mary’s band (Bill Shanley, Pat Crowley, Nick Scott) with guest appearances from Steve Cooney and Máire Breathnach.

Available on the RTÉ Player to the Island of Ireland at: www.rte.ie/player

Mary announces album release with the National Symphony Orchestra

Mary announces album release with the National Symphony Orchestra

'A great honour to have my favourite recordings orchestrated by the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Brian Byrne here at the National Concert Hall. Looking forward to the final result and a Mary Black Orchestrated album release in October.’ - Mary

New 5 part RTÉ TV series to choose Ireland’s favourite folk song, presented by Mary, and launched on The Late Late Show

New 5 part RTÉ TV series to choose Ireland’s favourite folk song, presented by Mary, and launched on The Late Late Show

Ireland’s Favourite Folk Song, launched on the Late Late Show on Jan. 18th, is a brand new RTÉ series and national campaign to identify and celebrate the songs that define us as a people.

“Folk music is in my blood. Many of these songs have shaped and defined my life. So I’m excited to be part of a conversation that celebrates our rich folk-song heritage” Mary Black

Throughout the centuries, folk music has immortalised the real, live experiences of the citizens who have lived on, or passed through this island. Ireland has a vast archive of beautiful folk songs, both in English and in Irish, which its citizens draw on in times of joy and sorrow, to entertain, or to capture big personal or historic moments. Many of these songs have been passed down through families for generations. Some of these songs were written by Irish people, some brought in from other cultures, but what sets folk music apart is that it captures the eternal stories, hopes and struggles of ordinary people.

And every one of us has a favourite: a song we sing at family events and get-togethers, or a song that is dear to us. And now RTÉ is asking the people of Ireland to tell us what their favourite songs are, and why.

Between now and 8th February, we’re asking you to log onto www.rte.ie/culture, click on the Nominate section and tell us what your favourite folk song is – and why you love it. It can be a love song, a political song, a song about nature, life, loss, emigration, whatever. It can be in Irish or in English. It can be an Irish song or an international folk song that we have taken to our hearts as a people. As long as it’s a folk song, and you love it, then it’s eligible for consideration.

Once we’ve gathered your nominations, an independent jury of music lovers and experts – see list below - will review the list and put together a shortlist of ten folk songs they feel best capture the public’s favourites, but also the spirit and story of Ireland. On 19th April, RTÉ will announce the 10 shortlisted folk songs to the nation in a special edition of The Ronan Collins Show on RTÉ Radio 1. Over the following five weeks, people will be invited to discuss the songs and tell us which one is their favourite of the 10.

To help people to make an informed choice, a brand new 5-part series, Ireland’s Favourite Folk Song, presented by internationally acclaimed Irish singer and folk legend Mary Black, begins on RTÉ One on 21st April. Each episode will tell the story behind two of the shortlisted songs. Audiences will be also able to discover more about each song across RTÉ Radio 1 and on rte.ie/culture.

The song chosen by you as the nation’s best-loved folk song will be announced live on The Late Late Show in May 2019.

We hope the public will embrace the spirit of this campaign, which is to celebrate one of the things we do best - and inspire the nation to sing, perform and love folk music.

For further information on the project and the selection process, please go to www.rte.ie/culture.

"Mary Black Sings Jimmy MacCarthy" album release

"Mary Black Sings Jimmy MacCarthy" album release

Mary is happy to announce the release of her new album “Mary Black Sings Jimmy MacCarthy” on November the 10th. 

The album contains eleven songs written by Jimmy, 6 previously recorded by Mary, 4 brand new recordings by Mary and a TV recording of a Mary and Jimmy duet.

  1. No Frontiers
  2. Adam At The Window
  3. There Is No Night
  4. Love’s Last Chance
  5. Bright Blue Rose
  6. What We Came Here For
  7. Wonderchild
  8. Katie
  9. Mystic Lipstick
  10. Another Day
  11. As I Leave Behind Néidín (with Jimmy MacCarthy)

The album will be available on 10 November in shops in Ireland, on Mary’s website and on digital platforms such as iTunes and Spotify. 


“A while ago I got a call from Jimmy. He asked me how I would feel about this project 'Mary Black Sings Jimmy Mac'. Without hesitation, I said yes and loved the idea, but it was only when I got to his place in Kilkenny and heard him sing his new songs that I got really excited. What a joy after all these years to have such great lyrics and new songs to sing from Jimmy Mac.”  - Mary

More details about the album can be found in the Discography section.