Mary Black / BBC Radio 2: Over the Water

December 1995:

Gleneagle Productions, a UK radio production partnership specializing in music projects [recent BBC series have included Blue Angels, Blue Devils (about jazz in the Third Reich), What Is Jazz? (introduction to the music, for BBC World Service), and The Guitar In Jazz (12-part history broadcast last year in the UK)] has just completed a new radio series, titled Over the Water, for broadcast over the BBC's domestic radio network, Radio 2.

The series consisted of 4-30 minute shows, each focusing on a particular aspect of Irish music, and was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Wednesday evenings at 2000 GMT, for four consecutive weeks starting on 13th December - 13th, 20th, 27th December 1995 and 3rd January 1996

This series featured recordings by Mary Black and other leading Irish performers. The programmes were (mostly) recorded in Dublin in November 1995. They're done in straightforward DJ style, and Mary wrote the scripts and chose the music herself.

Programme 1 begins with Song For Ireland, and goes on to feature some of the music Mary remembers from her childhood/early career in Dublin (including Colcannon from the Black Family, The Lark In The Morning by the Johnstons, Cunla by Planxty, and The Banks of The Moorlough Shore in two versions - first from Rita and Sara Keane, then from their niece, Dolores). The show ends with Sandy Denny's By The Time It Gets Dark.

In Programme 2, Mary introduces records by a few of her favourite Irish artists: Luka Bloom, Maura O'Connell, Paul Brady (acoustic version of Nothing But The Same Old Story from the Bringing It All Back Home CD set), Altan and Christy Moore (St. Brendan's Voyage).

Programme 3 is devoted to Irish songwriters, and it features the work of Noel Brazil, Jimmy McCarthy, Declan McManus (aka Elvis Costello), Mick Hanly and others. Three of the songs in the middle of the show are about emigration and its effects (My Love Is In America, Ellis Island, and The Deportees' Club). Mary also sings the original folk-tune that Tom Moore used for Carolina Rua, before going on to play her recording of the song.

Programme 4 looks at collaborations between Irish performers and artists from other countries/cultures. Among the tracks are Frances Black's version of Nanci Griffith's On Grafton Street, Mary's trio recording of The Grey Funnel Line with Emmylou Harris and Dolores Keane, and her cover version of Dick Gaughan's Both Sides The Tweed.

Gleneagle plans to have a Worldwide Web site available during 1996, including programme information.

Information provided by Nick Freeth

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Programmes described herein are copyright © 1995 Gleneagle Productions, as well as Dara Records/Dolphin Traders and other original copyright holders of the recordings broadcast thereon.

Website pages copyright © 1995-1998 Carolyn Andre, including HTML, original scans and digitized artwork.