Monday 1 September 2008

Killer Opening Songs (Mary Black - No Frontiers)

'Heaven knows no frontiers
And I've seen heaven in your eyes'

The first time I came across the music of the Irish singer Mary Black was by means of a compilation of songs by artists from the Emerald Isle. The title of this collection of tunes, given to me by a couple of acquaintances, was ‘Craic Agus Ceoil’ (it roughly translates as ‘fun and music’ from Gaelic) and it featured the likes of The Chieftains, Christy Hennesy and The Pogues. Yet there was also this very distinctive and velvety voice that caught my attention immediately. It took me some time to work out who she was, though, as the tape (yes, tape, no CDs at the time!) did not have the tracks and their performers numbered down. Once I found out, though, I discovered an artist whose music was hard to pin down.

This compilation led me to listen to a few records by this singer, who, by the way, comes from a rich musical tradition. Father played the fiddler, Mother was a singer herself, Brothers formed their own band and Sister is a singer, too. Can you imagine Sunday afternoons chez les Blacks?

The tune Killer Opening Songs is uploading this week, ‘No Frontiers’ (same title as the album), is pure poetry. It is as powerful a statement as they come. It eases the listener into a maelstrom of feelings and emotions, the equivalent of walking into a maze and liking it so much that after we’ve come out we want to go back in straight away. Critics would normally file this type of music away under ‘folk’ genre, but to me it is just good pop. I’m not surprised that the album this track is included in spent fifty-six weeks in the Irish Top 30 and went platinum.

I hope you enjoy this week’s selection. Thanks.

Copyright 2008


  1. I've never heard of Mary Black before, but I really liked this song! :-)

    Greetings from Sweden!

  2. I loved this. She is completely new to me. Thanks for the introduction!

  3. Him Sara, she has enjoyed relative success, although not at the same level as Sinead and Enya.

    Willow, she did break into the American market int he early 90s, but did not make much of a mark, purely because of what I explained to Sara above. It was precisely this song and the album that made her popular in the States.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Greetings from London.

  4. ella tiene una risa que ilumina a quien la mira. Me gusta mucho.

    saludos, tony.

  5. Gracias, bro. Te pillo el viernes.

    Saludos desde Londres.

  6. No la conocia, preciosa voz. Gracias!


  7. Gracias a ti por pasar, Lena.

    Saludos desde Londres.

  8. Mario:

    Conocí a Mary Black en una compilación llamada Women of the World Celtic. Ella cantando Song for Ireland es sencillamente maravillosa. En mi programa poníamos también Only a woman's heart. Ella dio un concierto en el 2006 en el Barbican si mal no recuerdo, pero el desempleo no daba para los tickets. Espero que regrese, no obstante.

    Greetings from North London

  9. Ivan, precisamente pedi un CD de la biblioteca de aqui que tenia 'Song for Ireland' y tienes toda la razon, es preciosa su version.

    Saludos desde el otro lado del norte de Londres.



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