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About The Black Family

The Black Family is one of the most important musical clans in Ireland. While sisters Mary and Frances rank among the best-selling folk artists in the world, the three albums that they recorded with their brothers -- Shay, Michael, and Martin -- document the strength of this family collaboration. The three brothers and two sisters inherited their love of music from their parents. Their father, who hailed from Rathlin Island, played fiddle, while their mother sang traditional and music hall songs. Although the five siblings performed together in Dublin pubs in the mid-'70s, Mary left the group in 1977 to sing with General Humbert and DeDanaan and as a soloist. The Black Family continued to perform as a trio, releasing their self-titled debut album in 1986. Three years later, Mary returned to tour and record an album, Time for Touching Home, with her brothers and younger sister Frances. Soon afterwards, she resumed her solo career with Frances, Shay, Michael, and Martin continuing as a quartet. Before long, however, Frances left the group to sing with Arcady and on her own. Mary and Frances returned to sing harmony on their brothers' 1995 album, What a Time, which also included the singing of their mother, Patty, on an old music hall tune. Although Shay and Michael emigrated to San Francisco in the mid-'90s, the Black Family continues to periodically come together to sing. In 1997, they reunited at Milwaukee's Irish festival for a benefit concert to raise funds to restore their father's birthplace on Rathlin Island. ~ Craig Harris


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