Mary Black on great writers‘To say something in two lines that would probably take me 3 pages to actually say. That’s what the beauty of an amazing writer is.’

As heard on RTÉ Radio 1

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Mary Black is back.  After a very difficult couple of months, the legendary singer is ready to tour again.  She spoke with Miriam O’Callaghan about her challenging health scare as well as her ongoing passion for music.

The friendship and musical connection between Mary and songwriter Jimmy McCarthy is well known, and much loved.  Having written the remarkable ‘No Frontiers‘ as well as countless other songs, Mary says she can recognise his genius.

“They say about great writers… and we have many great writers in Ireland…  To say something in two lines that would probably take me 3 pages to say. That’s what the beauty of an amazing writer is.”

On the success of ‘No Frontiers‘ Mary shared with Miriam that it was this particular song that had opened the doors for her outside of Ireland, landing her some pretty impressive record deals with labels globally.

“It meant more to me than the actual song itself. It was a step for me to go further in my career and really go abroad.”

After decades of recording and touring around Ireland and the rest of the world, the singer found herself idle after contracting an illness called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome which affects hearing and can even cause paralysis to the face.  Mary describes is as ‘a hairy time’ but is glad to be on the mend again.  The illness resulted in the cancellation of a raft of gigs.  Taking time out from her music was a new experience.

Mary told Miriam that she loves performing more than ever. No matter how tired or sick she is, that adrenaline still kicks in and there is still enough energy to perform another gig when she’s finished on stage. Despite this, Mary admits she has taken a step back to spend time with her family.

“I’ve pulled back on my tours abroad and I’m not travelling as much. I have two granddaughters. They’re close in age and they’re great fun and I want time.”

For more from Sunday with Miriam, click here.


© The Listener 2018

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