Über Mary Black
While perhaps not as well known as Enya or Sinead O'Connor, Mary Black is one of Ireland's most significant female singers. Born into an intensely musical family -- her father was a fiddler from Rathlein Island and her mother a singer -- Black was learning Irish folk at the knee of her older brother Shay by the time she was eight years old. She came to take much joy in singing, and fortunately for her she was blessed with a remarkably pure, if not overly powerful, voice. After releasing one solo album in the early 1980s, the offbeat traditional Irish band DeDannan asked Black to join. Join she did, touring with the band for three years (leaving her children in the care of her husband Joe). But the call of her solo career proved strong, and she ultimately returned to it in 1986. After a string of gold albums in Ireland, 1987's By the Time It Gets Dark went multiplatinum and the chart-topping, triple-platinum No Frontiers (1989) followed quickly on its heels. Though she's a traditional singer of considerable talent, Black has never limited her career to Celtic folk, taking on pop and other influences as they suited her.