Arguably the greatest female jazz and blues singer to have emerged from Ireland in recent times, Mary Coughlan is the equivalent of Irish vocal royalty. Often described as “Ireland’s Billie Holiday” she has a successful career spanning over 30 years. Whether into folk, blues or jazz, no one can fail to be moved by the emotional depth, expression & power in her voice, forged from an extraordinary life, including overcoming alcohol and drug addiction caused by childhood trauma, her story “giving weight to the truth that the best singers are the ones with the most painful lives” (The Guardian). Since her first album ‘Tired and Emotional’ rocketed her to overnight fame in 1985, she has recorded 15 further solo albums, most recently the searing song cycle ‘Scars on the Calendar’ with Erik Visser.
She has filled concert halls in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Scandinavia and the U.K. With a reputation for her emotive and powerful performances, Mary’s ability to connect so emotionally & empathically with both the song & her audience is testament to her inner strength, and to the power of transformation & redemption. The word ‘legend’ is not one to be used lightly, but in this case is entirely appropriate. “Mary Coughlan’s talent is awesome.” (The Observer). The stage is her home. To hear Mary sing is truly to be at the core of the human heart. Mary live is in a league of her own. This is the real thing, sung from the depths of a woman’s heart and soul, a survivor who (to paraphrase Leonard Cohen’s famous words) “was born with the gift of a golden voice.” This is why she is so loved. “Mary’s performances must be seen to be believed.” (NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS) “The Galway-born artist doesn’t just take her to church with her music, she practically baptises them with her own passion and pain.” (THE IRISH NEWS) “Mary’s version of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ has become legendary. She invokes that deep, dark sound only she can do with an intensity of emotion that can knot stomachs and shred hearts.” (LIVE AT THE BLACK BOX, BELFAST) “Bitter, seductive, raunchy, contemptuous. Startling songs of lust and disillusion.” (MOJO) “No one should wish her heartbreak, but everyone should envy her power to transform it.” (FINANCIAL TIMES) “Tom Waits has met his Irish match.” (THE GUARDIAN)
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