Black is the new Black

Black Family Mary Frances Shay Michael Martin
The Black Family

Fiona O’Brien goes through past Irish World interviews (and others) to get to know that modern Irish musical dynasty known to some as the Black Family

Celtic music ensemble the Black Family are composed of Mary and Frances Black and their siblings, Shay, Michael, and Martin.

The family has been called ‘one of the most important musical clans in Ireland’.

The five were born into a musical family; their father, who hailed from Rathlin Island, was a fiddle player, and their mother was a music hall singer.

The siblings performed together as a quintet in Dublin from the 1970s to the present day, and in 1977, Both Mary and Frances went on to become highly successful solo artists.

The five siblings recorded a self-titled album, released in 1986. In 1989, they recorded again, with Mary producing the album for her four siblings. They reunited in 2004 for a third album, which also features their now-deceased mother, Patty, singing on one of the tracks.

They continue to reunite for occasional live performances, most recently travelling Ireland at the beginning of this year.

Shay and Michael moved to California in the early 1990s and continue to have successful musical careers performing as The Black Brothers.

The brothers released What a Time in 1995. Michael released his first solo and self-titled CD, Michael Black, produced by John Doyle, in 2006.

Michael and Shay Black continue to tour as a band, The Black Brothers, throughout the United States and Canada.

Martin lives in Dublin, and although family commitments have reduced his music commitment, he still plays small gigs in Dublin.

To read more about each of the Black Family members, pick up your copy of this week’s Irish World Newspaper

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