Petticoat Loose The Holland Handkerchief Media
site updated December 2012

**News update, December 2012**


The celebrated Irish Traditional Singer Mary McPartlan who is also a member of staff at NUI Galway has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to City University of New York and to coincide with the prestigious award two new recordings Victor Jara (hear) hear Victor Jaraand the video (see above) When I was a Young Girl is available for download this December 2012.

Mary pays tribute to the late poet Pearse Hutchinson in a song and video just released and remembers the great Chilean singer Victor Jara (hear) hear Victor Jara in a song and poem recorded with President Michael D Higgins. Both video and songs are timed to announce the prestigious Fulbright Award which was awarded to Mary during the year and begins at the end of January 2013 for four months at Lehman College CUNY. Details of the video and song are as follows: 'When I was a Young Girl' (see video) is a version of the ballad 'St James's Hospital', a blues lament recorded at Pearse Hutchinson's family home in Rathgar in Dublin. The song was a favourite of the late poet's, and a version of it ('The Locke Hospital') was recorded by Christy Moore on his album 'Prosperous'. It will feature on Mary's new album which she plans to begin recording in New York early next year. Mary had shared a stage with Pearse Hutchinson and Michael Hartnett and sang at Hutchinson's funeral in January of this year. Mary recorded 'Victor Jara', a ballad written by English poet Adrian Mitchell on her last album 'Petticoat Loose'; and recorded a new version of it on tour last summer when she was joined by Michael D. Higgins, later elected President of Ireland. Michael D read his poem 'The Wall', a tribute to the late Chilean singer and political campaigner Victor Jara. President Higgins read the poem on his recent visit to Santiago in Chile where he met Victor's widow Joan Jara.

The performance with Michael D Higgins, recorded at the Mermaid Theatre in Bray, Co Wicklow, can also be heard on Mary's website. Speaking at the launch of the video 'When I was a Young Girl', Dr. Lillis Ó Laoire, Head of School, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at NUI Galway said "For nearly a decade Mary has been changing the course of Irish Traditional Music, with her special interpretations of Irish Songs, her extraordinary support for Irish culture and her extensive development of the Creative Arts in Academic modules at NUI Galway. No doubt her creative work for the traditional arts in New York is certain to be as ground breaking as ever." The Fulbright Awards are presented on an annual basis to Irish Students, scholars, and professionals to undertake postgraduate study and research at higher education, cultural, and related institutions in the United States.

As part of her Fulbright Scholarship Mary will teach a module on Irish Traditional Women Singers' and songs since the 1950's and also give a series of lectures on Irish contemporary Playwrights and plays. She also plans to give performances at University of Notre Dame, Boston College, the Irish Arts Centre in New York and she will give a concert at Glucksman Ireland House on March 1 2013 Apart from her existing repertoire, Mary will include and perform some of the songs of Irish legendary singer Margaret Barry while in the US. She is working with writer and broadcaster Vincent Woods to create a theatre and music piece based on the life of Margaret Barry.

See full press release.


Summer tour 2011 with the artists from Dark Horse on the Wind Touring Experiment

Singer Mary McPartlan and multi-instrumentalist Rick Epping will be embarking on their annual summer tour to festivals and arts centres in many parts of Ireland, during June and July.

Joining Mary and Rick will be the acclaimed guitarist Aiden Brennan on some of the tour dates with Garry O'Briain making up the trio for the concerts later in the tour in July. There will be two very special guests, writer and RTÉ broadcaster Vincent Woods appearing with the trio at the Seamus Ennis arts centre in The Naul and the politician and writer M D Higgins joining the band for concerts in the Balor Theatre in Ballybofey, the Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray and Teach Amergin in County Kerry.

This annual summer tour is the organic continuation of the Touring Experiment originally funded by the Arts Council and the Rural Arts Network touring project, both of which had a specific focus to support and promote performances in remote rural and marginalized communities and arts centres throughout the South of Ireland.

The positive outcomes that emanated from this type of commitment and focus has been excellent and further encouragement to research, develop and continue to pursue this particular style of touring for traditional artists, audience development and the traditional arts. Tour dates

Rural Arts Network Presents Mary McPartlan National Tour 2010

A gloriously earthy mix of trad, folk and the blues to visit local communities across the country. This inspiring ten-date tour is made possible with financial support from the Arts Council and a special feature of it, are the six voluntary and community groups in Carlow, Waterford, Galway, Tipperary, Westmeath and Wicklow which are hosting concerts as part of the tour.

The Leitrim born singer is joining forces with multi-instrumentalist and singer Rick Epping, guitarist Aidan Brennan and the arts and community development organisation Rural Arts Network for the tour which will include a mix of arts centres and rural/community venues. The imaginative line-up incorporates the best of traditional music and song mixed with American folk and blues. The trio performed at this year's Temple Bar Trad Fest in February where they were acclaimed by Irish Times trad critic Siobhan Long, who stated that "McPartlans belly-deep voice is growing richer with the years, and her reading of Shane MacGowan's Rainy Night In Soho was a pinprick evocation of love and regret" while "Epping's concertina and harmonica-driven swing from Bob Dylan to The Rolling Stones by way of Willie Clancy was a master class in musical magpie-ism, undertaken with verve and delight."

The concerts will also provide a platform for local emerging artists to perform in a supporting role thus contributing to their professional development and promoting local culture and it should all serve to highlight the contribution that voluntary promoters can make in promoting the arts in local communities.

Mary McPartlan's second CD, entitled Petticoat Loose, was officially launched on February 21, 2008 in the Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin.

Petticoat Loose

See new review from the Irish Post, May 2010

  Mary McPartlan at NUIG Petticoat Loose CD cover
Mary in Galway

The latest offering from Mary McPartlan, Petticoat Loose, was launched on February 21 in the Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin.

Petticoat Loose has been a developmental idea over a period of two years. The essence of the album is a series of collaborations where the material now represents 50% of the work. It represents my close associations with many high profile artists in the traditional music world, my work in the National University of Ireland Galway, my lifelong friendship with Vincent Woods and my ongoing musical collaboration with Seamie O'Dowd.

The songs written by poet, playwright and broadcaster Vincent Woods are testament and fact to our shared history growing up in Leitrim:
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Sanctuary tells of the childhood growing up in the townland of Comhalth. The only employment at a certain time was in the mines of Arigna and the vision of my father and young brother heading off on dark winter mornings.
Kiss the Moon is a very personal song, deeply moving based on a true story of my mother's lonliness living on the top of a mountain, when one night when I was three years old I asked her to lift me up to kiss the moon.
Ultimately Vincent's writing is the language of beauty and hope. Vincent's third song and the title track of the CD Petticoat Loose comes from a book entitled The Blessed and the Damned by Dr Anne O'Connor. Dr O'Connor, in her book introduces Petticoat Loose as a very wild woman who gets up to some dastardly deeds in the region of Tipperary and Waterford. She was sometimes presented terrifyingly in children's folklore. I was specifically attracted to a story of Petticoat Loose because she represents a whole series of ghostly tales one of which was about a woman called Mary Hannigan. It is said Mary Hannigan was a strong-willed woman who preferred dancing and drinking and the company of a travelling fiddler to the company of her husband. When her husband drowned mysteriously she opened a Sibín and continued to dance and drink while the people of the town went to mass. Unconventional that she was she was despised by the priests and church and was given to much drinking and dancing so much so that her petticoat would fall down hence the name 'Petticoat Loose'. There is a great folklore around Tipperary, Waterford and Limerick attached to the stories of Petticoat Loose and thus the inspiration behind the song and title.
There is also a piping tune called Petticoat Loose which was given to me by the great piper Mickey Dunne.
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This CD also contains two very special pieces of collected song from the area of Drumkeerin, where I grew up. These songs were researched and collected in a Masters dissertation completed by Stiofán Ó'Cheilleachair in 1950. He collected any remaining Irish from the area and gathered a great deal of music including songs, stories and sayings from Aodh Mac Conshnámha.
I chose two pieces, which depicted a devastated region in famine times in Ireland with a local dialect. The songs were a means of bringing me closer to my ancestors, with the help of new beautiful melodies especially written by Brendan O'Regan. Another original piece on the CD is a song called Cúmha (Translated means Parting Sorrow), written with words and lyrics by Pádraig Ó hÁoláin. Cúmha is an extraordinary, vivid and heartfelt song depicting a history of immigration in Connemara in the 1970s and 1980s,which was also a wider expression of immigration in the West of Ireland at this time. The song tells the story of the departure from the sea, the land and life as they knew it and into the dark factories where life stopped for them and finally exit from Ireland. Impeccably translated into English by Tim Dennehy from County Kerry, Cúmha tells the story of a situation which affected a large number of families in most households in the West of Ireland though its central theme has a universal impact for many people. Other tracks on the CD are deeply personal in their lyrics and are autobiographical, representing my life up to the present day in their poetic and political expression.
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Some of the songs include Barbara Allen (dedicated to the memory of Tom Munnelly), Victor Yara and Lowlands.

The Crafting and development of the songs musically comes from my collaborations with ConTempo (the Romanian string quartet at NUIG), the Orbsen Choir (NUIG), with great musicians and friends Mairtín O'Connor, Brendan O'Regan, Gary O'Briain, Frankie Gavin, Cathal Hayden, Eddie Lynch and ultimately with my musical director Seamie O'Dowd (multi-instrumentalist). The voices of the women who sing with me whether it is on Barbara Allen or The Sisters of Mercy are warm and full of empathy for the songs not to mention their beautiful voices in harmony on both of these two songs. I gratefully acknowledge the Deis award from the Arts Council and thank them for their support.

The tracks on the CD are:
Sanctury, Síos faoi braoch, Loch Aileann, Generous lover, Kiss the Moon, Barbara Allen, Wild Mountain Side, Cúmha (a parting sorrow), Sisters of Mercy, Caoine Sheáin Mhic Searraigh, Petticoat Loose, Lumé Lumé (Romania), Victor Yara Lowlands Away.

See media section for the Petticoat Loose press release and CD cover image.
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The Holland Handkerchief, the album, has been warmly welcomed by critics and public alike, both in Ireland and in Britain and is distributed by the prestigious labels RMG in Ireland and Proper in the UK. It is available from all good record shops as well as online through the Dervish on-line store.

The CD The Holland Handkerchief was nominated in the Irish Meteor Awards in the Traditional Folk section. Other nominees in the category are Planxty and Kila. The Meteor Awards take place in the Point Depot on February 24th 2005 and Televised by RTE. Other nominees include Bell x, EMINEM and Bic Runga. A British tour will take place in the summer 2005.

The Holland Handkerchief was voted #1 Folk album in MOJO magazine. It continues to get airplay all around the UK.
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Mary McPartlan
is one of the most talented singers to come out of the Irish scene in recent years. Born in Drumkeeran, Co. Leitrim and now living in Galway, she started singing in the early 70s but it wasn't until 2003 that she decided to make music her full time career.

She has been working for the last 12 years in the arts and entertainment industry, having been producer and director of many music and theatre projects. She developed the concept of the TG4 National Traditional Music Awards, and was co-producer of the award-winning music series FLOSC, also for TG4. She is founding member and the producer of the Galway-based theatre company Skehana. Mary, however, didn't come out of the shadows until January 2004 when she released the critically-acclaimed album The Holland Handkerchief.

The release of her new single Rainy Night in Soho on July 15 2004 coincided with the launch of her new website

Mary McPartlan and Shane MacGowan
Pictured in Galway... Mary McPartlan with Shane MacGowan. Mary's new single Rainy night in Soho was written by MacGowan.
pic: Mike Shaughnessy

The single Rainy Night in Soho, written by Shane MacGowan, receives a superb treatment. Mary produces here a radical transformation of this song about life, love and moving on and makes of it one of the most surprising covers of modern music in recent times. It has received widespread critical acclaim both in Ireland and Great Britain. The dramatic poem and title track of the album 'The Holland Handkerchief' is also included in the single.

Mary appeared at the Galway Arts Festival on Monday the 19th 2004 at The Warwick Hotel which was also the official launch of both her new single Rainy Night in Soho and her web site. In Galway, Mary was accompanied on stage by a hugely talented bunch of musicians who took part in the recording of the album 'The Holland Handkerchief'. The line up included Seamie O'Dowd, Liam Kelly and Tom Morrow (members of Dervish), Eddie Lynch and Danny Byrt and featured the legendary accordionist Mairt
ín O'Connor as a special guest.

Pictured with her band... Mary McPartlan with Eddie Lynch and Seamie O'Dowd.

Tour dates
Summer tour 2011

Saturday, June 11
Seamus Ennis Centre, The Naul

Saturday, June 25
The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey

Friday, July 1
Cloughjordan Arts Festival

Saturday, July 2
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray

Friday, July 8
Teach Amergin, Waterville

Sunday, July 10
Kinsale Arts Festival.

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You can contact Mary directly at Tel: +353 (91) 591456 or +353 (0) 87 2206629 or Mary's London publicist, Alan O'Leary (Copperplate) at +00 44 2075850357.
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© Mary Mc Partlan 2010