The Egg has been doing a marvellous job recently, bringing some of the finest contemporary Celtic performers to Albany. Luka Bloom, Paul Brady and Maura O’Connell have all graced the small and cosy Swyer Theater stage in just the past six weeks. This time around the spotlight was on the incomparable Mary Black.
Possessing a sublime soprano voice, Black effortlessly navigated through the rich musical waters of Ireland’s traditional repertoire, as well as its more contemporary singer-songwriters offerings. Not unlike her former De Dannan band mate Maura O’Connell, Black has the uncanny ability to find, polish and interpret other people’s songs in a way that they become very much her own.
Black’s signature 1987 album, “By The Time It Gets Dark,” reached multi-platinum status, and its follow-up two years later, “No Frontiers,” established her as an international star thtroughout Europe, Japan and the United States. If you have heard Black sing even one song, you’ll understand why she has been considered (on both sides of the pond) Ireland’s pre-eminent songstress for more than two decades.
In Albany earlier this month, Mary Black and her five-piece band walked out on stage immediately following Roisin O’s (Rose O’Reilly) powerful opening set. Black looked around the theater with a smile and commented in her Irish brogue that it had been three years since she had last performed at The Egg.
Most of her concert’s repertoire was derived from her most recent recording, 2008’s double-CD, “25 Years, 25 Songs,” which celebrated her quarter-century as a performer. And all of them were performed beautifully at The Egg with the impassioned intensity that has become Black’s trademark.
Judging by the audience’s applause after every song, Mary Black was truly missed here in the Capital Region and will surely be warmly welcomed back when she returns in the future.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk