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‘Eamonn Mallie Face to Face with …..’ sits down with singer Mary Black

Eamonn Mallie pictured with folk singer Mary Black sitting and leaning on a table smiling.
Eamonn Mallie pictured with folk singer Mary Black.

UTV series ‘Eamonn Mallie Face to Face with……’ continues on Tuesday night, with folk singer Mary Black sitting across from the journalist and writer.


In this half hour episode, Eamonn and Mary chat about her musical upbringing and her Rathlin Island roots; how she broke into the Irish folk scene; and career highs over the years.  She also talks about the lows and how she dealt with depression during her career. She shares too her plans for the future.


The interview starts with Mary chatting about her family background and growing up in Dublin.

Her father, a talented fiddle player, was from Rathlin Island, and she recalls spending idyllic school holidays there as a child.“You can’t explain the magic of Rathlin,” she said.


She talks about her musical influences and early foray into performing. She learned valuable breathing and harmonizing techniques while in her school choir, and she eventually joined her musician brothers on the local folk revival scene, performing at ‘open mic’ nights.  


She tells how Christy Moore gave her her first big break, asking her to support him on tour. This started a 13-year musical partnership with Declan Sinnott.  She also talks fondly of her time with Irish group De Dannan, with whom she toured England, Europe and America.


Eamonn asks her about her bouts of depression and she talks candidly about being diagnosed with post-natal depression and then having another bout years later. She said that her life was good at the time, “It hits anyone at any time for no reason.” She puts it down to life being ‘hectic’ with lots of pressure.  She said of her success at that time, “I didn’t feel worthy of it, I began to doubt my own ability.”


They move on to talk about the ‘Woman’s Heart’ phenomenon and how it reached number one in the Irish album charts. Mary laughs, “Whitney Houston was No1 everywhere except Ireland!”


She tells Eamonn she’s marking 40 years since her first album with a tour. She speaks fondly of Belfast and how the Ulster Hall is one of her favourite venues, “It’s easy to sing in the Ulster Hall.” And, “My Belfast audience are just unreal.”


The Mary Black episode airs on Tuesday 11th April at 11pm on UTV.


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