Saturday, March 16, 2013

Lovely Ladies of Ireland

Mary O'Hara photo Mary_OHara_zpsd9b24ad9.jpg Ruby Murray photo RubyMurray_zpsbbb49cc6.jpg
Lisa Hannigan photo lisa_hannigan_zpseb3b11aa.jpg Bridie Gallagher photo bridie-Gallagher_zps12a41897.jpg
Clockwise: Mary O'Hara; Ruby Murray; Bridie Gallagher; and Lisa Hannigan.

While I know that St. Patrick's Day is not until tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to do a little research, and bring some Irish vocalists to the blog. I must admit, my collection of Irish singers consists of U2, the Corrs, Sinéad O'Conner, Van Morrison, Chris Keys, and Clannad, so research was in order. So I set off doing searches with Google, and one of the first names I came up with was the lovely Mary O'Hara. She began her climb to fame in Sligo, Ireland, also the home of Westlife. In the early 1950s, O'Hara was still a teen, but appearing on Irish television and radio, and winning music competitions. She played the harp, and had a stunning voice, perfect for singing some traditional Irish music. In the mid1950s, she married and moved to the United States, only to have he husband die 18 months later. Distraught, she joined a convent, and was out of music for more than a decade, only to go back to music. She was immediately popular in Ireland, and soon was popular all over Europe again. Here she singing the traditional song "Danny Boy", accompanying herself on the harp.

Ruby Murray was first discovered in Belfast at the age of 12, appearing on television to sing. But she went back to school full-time for two years, when child labor laws no longer applied. By the time she was 10, she was singing weekly on television, and started a fun of hit songs. While the 1950s were her best years on the charts, she continued making music and touring live for the next few decades. He died in 1996. Much of her music revolved around her Irish roots, like her gorgeous version of "Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone)", the traditional Irish favorite.

Unlike the other ladies in this post, Lisa Hannigan is currently making music, having only been active for the last decade or so. Lisa first gained noticed as a member of Damian Rice's band, before embarking on her solo career in 2007. She has released two albums to date, both getting great notices in the press. But I discovered her when she sang with the legendary Irish band The Chieftains, performing the traditional ballad "My Lagan Love". It is stunning, and once I heard it, I could not resist the urge to post it.

Bridie Gallagher was also known as "The Girl From Donegal", for it was true, and it was also the name of one of her early hits, released in 1958. From the mid 1950s to the turn of the century, Bridie was making music, being extremely popular across the British empire, selling out shows in Ireland, England, and Australia. While she wasn't on the charts in the last few decades of the last century, she was still touring and making people happy. She retired in 2000, and lived in Belfast. She passed in 2012, and taken back to Donegal to be buried. She will long be remembered as someone who loved to sing songs that focused on her homeland, including her 1959 hit "Moonlight in Mayo".

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


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