Irish Singer, Songwriter, and Teacher

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.
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On stage in Santa Cruz CA, 1998

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.
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Cór Aingli 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.
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(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

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.
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Sean-nós class, Berkeley, California

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.

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!

Published on Routledge / Ashgate (April 2017):
Singing Death: Reflections on Music and Mortality edited by Helen Dell and Helen Hickey (University of Melbourne).

Mary is honoured to have her chapter Moving Between Worlds: Death, The Otherworld and Traditional Irish Song included in this exciting new academic publication. See the related website:


Sacred Days, Mythic Ways (nominated for 2017 JPF International Indie Awards)
Rowan Records ( US Distribution: Gourd Music)
A Gaelic Christmas CD / Song book (placed 4th in 2009 JPF International Indie Awards)
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


Celtic Circle
Sony BMG
Celtic Circle 2
Sony BMG
Celtic Legacy
Sony BMG
Celtic Sampler
Sony BMG
Narada Decade Two
Faire Celts
Celtic Song
Celtic Dream
Wyndham Hill/Hay House
Celtic Inspirations
Wyndham Hill
The Echoes Living Room Concerts Vol. 4
Conversations with God disc 2
Wyndham Hill
Narada World
Narada Collection Series
Celtic Voices: Women of Song
Narada Media


Lost Liners (PBS Soundtrack)
Michael Whalen
PBS Recordings
Celtic Crossroads
John Whelan & Friends
A Flame in Avalon
Anne Lister
Heading Home
Christine Kydd
Fellside Recordings
Burnt Feathers
Fellside Recordings
True Dare or Promise
Martin and Jessica Simpson
Poor Young Willie
Traitors Gait
Waterline Music
3D Off
Traitors Gait
Waterline Music
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Sacred Days, Mythic Ways 2012