Biography

 

BACKGROUND

Mary Mc Laughlin is a singer / songwriter / teacher who is steeped in the Ulster Gaelic song tradition of her native Ireland where she was born and raised.

Mary records, performs and teaches workshops in singing skills, performance technique and Gaelic song and culture.  She has toured extensively throughout North America, teaching and performing at Celtic / Irish camps. 

On stage in Santa Cruz CA, 1998

PERFORMING

Mary lived for many years in London and performed on the English Folk Scene, singing and playing guitar and keyboards with various groups including the Folk Rock group Traitor’s Gait; Anonyma (a duo with singer-songwriter Anne Lister), with whom she still periodically tours in the UK; multi- instrumentalist Steafán Hannigan and the Martin Simpson Band.

In 1997 Mary moved to California.  Over the last decade and a half she has toured extensively throughout the USA with various ensembles and bands (including Martin Simpson’s U.S. band, and Celtic guitarists Robin Bullock and William Coulter).  She has also performed with Bay Area musicians Neal Hellman, Danny Carnahan, Libby Mc Laren and Robin Flower, harper Steve Coulter and guitarist Bruce Abrams.

CHORAL WORK

Mary is known for her ability to arrange traditional Irish material chorally as well as her singing, writing and teaching abilities.  In 2007 she founded a sacred Gaelic Choir Mary Mc Laughlin’s Cór Ainglí in Santa Cruz, N. California.  For five years Mary soloed with the 20+ piece choir conducted by Kathleen Loveless and accompanied by a band of Celtic musicans. http://www.coraingli.com/

 

Cór Ainglí 2011

Through 2011 she performed along with a small chorus in a theatrical/dance production, Selkie Tides, based on the Scottish Selkie legends, conceived and directed by Sharon Took-Zozaya.  2012 saw the release of another album "Sacred Says, Mythic Ways" and this chorus morphed into the performance group to launch the album - the new trimmed down "Cór Ainglí"-  who shared Mary's joint love of early Christian Gregorian Chant and pre-Christian songs about the Celtic Otherworld - rooted in the past but placed in the contemporary world.

(from l-r: Eileen Mihm, Jenny Seigmund, Mary, Kathy Hopkins, Audrey Nickel, Katie Loveless, Laura Schanzar, Laura Reeve)  Not shown in photo: Janet Herman, Sadie Reeve

TEACHING

Mary initially completed a BA and graduate teaching certificate at London University and has taught in schools, colleges and privately, in the UK and the USA. 

Having initially trained in vocal technique in England with the acclaimed vocal teacher Frankie Armstrong, Mary formalized her training in 1995 by acquiring a Certificate of Vocal Music Education from Trinity College London.   In 2010 she was awarded an MA in Ritual Chant and Song  at Limerick University where she specialized in the fairy / mythological songs of Ireland as well as Latin plainchant and the Irish tradiiton of Keening.

She has taught extensively throughout the Bay Area, California including guesting at various festivals and music camps, the most recent in 2014 being the sean-nos weekends in Olympia WA and Phoenix Arizona.

Sean-nós class, Berkeley, California

RECORDING

Her solo  recording career got launched in 1991 with The Daughter of Lir, produced by international producer Jon Jacobs who had worked on many of the Beatles’ projects.

The lead track Sealwoman headed off Narada’s 1995 Celtic Voices which reached #3 in the Billboard charts and introduced Mary to an international audience.

She has released four solo albums and two teaching books, sang the theme song for the PBS special Lost Liners, contributed to 13 compilation albums on major labels and had her Gaelic Christmas album nominated for the international JPF Indie awards

Her 2012 release Sacred Days, Mythic Ways      brings together her two passions - the ancient songs of sacred Ireland and songs based on Celtic Mythology.

In addition Gourd music has released a retrospective compilation called The Mary Mc Laughlin Storybook, drawing on  three of her previous albums.  This album is released on ITUNES only.

CURRENT

After 17 years in the USA Mary has recently relocated to Ireland where she is pursuing a PhD and an academic career.  She will continue to tour and teach as well as continue her research into the Irish musical tradition which has been her sustaining love throughout her life!

DISCOGRAPHY                              (SEE STORE TO PURCHASE AVAILABLE CDS)

                                                           SOLO

 

Sacred Days, Mythic Ways                  Rowan Records  ( US Distribution: Gourd Music)

A Gaelic Christmas CD / Song book   Rowan Records  ( US Distribution: Gourd Music)

Crystal Shoe                                          Rowan Records  (US Distribution: Gourd Music)        

Singing in Irish Gaelic Book / CD set   Mel Bay Publishing                                   

Daughter of Lir                                      Rowan Records  (US Distribution: Gourd Music)

Celtic Requiem                                      Windham Hill / BMG

COMPILATIONS

Celtic Circle                                            Sony BMG          

Celtic Circle 2                                         Sony BMG

Celtic Legacy                                          Sony BMG           

Celtic Sampler                                        Sony BMG       

Narada Decade Two”                             Narada

Faire Celts                                               NaradaWorld 

Celtic Song                                              NaradaWorld

Celtic Dream                                            Windham Hill/Hay House           

Celtic Inspirations                                   Windham Hill

The Echoes Living Room Concerts Vol. 4   Echodisc 

Conversations with God disc 2              Windham Hill

Narada World                                           Narada Collection Series

Celtic Voices: Women of Song               Narada Media

 

CONTRIBUTIONS TO OTHER ALBUMS

 

Lost Liners(soundtrack for PBS show) Michael Whalen    PBS Recordings               

Celtic Crossroads            John Whelan & Friends            Narada

A Flame in Avalon            Anne Lister                               Hearthfire

Heading Home                 Christine Kydd                          Fellside  Recordings 

Burnt Feathers                Anonyma                                   Fellside Recordings

True Dare or Promise   Martin and Jessica Simpson       Topic

Poor Young Willie          Traitors Gait                            Waterline Music                             

3d Off                               Traitors Gait                            Waterline Music       

 

Sacred Days, Mythic Ways 2012