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
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.
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 Aingli 2011
(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.
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: http://www.historyofemotions.org.au/research/research-projects/singing-death-reflections-on-music-and-mortality
CONTRIBUTIONS TO OTHER ALBUMS
Sacred Days, Mythic Ways 2012