Clonmel World Music Proudly Presents: Mary Coughlan Band (Ireland)

by admin on 22/03/2018

Clonmel World Music is delighted to welcome one of Irelands best known and best loved artists for a very special show in Raheen House on Thursday 05th April. Mary Coughlan will play in Clonmel with her full band, just before they embark on an extensive UK tour in April. Mary’s band will be Jimmy Smyth on Guitar, Johnny Taylor on Piano, and Cormac O’Brien on Double Bass.

Mary Coughlan is our greatest female singer because over twenty-five years and sixteen albums she’s made the most grown-up, uncompromising, wholly personal and utterly universal music on either side of the Atlantic about what goes on between men and women.

Born in Galway 60 years ago, Mary has battled and overcome childhood trauma, near-death from alcoholism and drug addiction. After hitting rock-bottom, and after extensive periods in psychiatric hospitals and rehab centres, she literally pulled herself out of the dregs of a vodka bottle to confront the foundations of her problems head on and sort out her life, and has been sober since 1993. Mary Coughlan’s genius is the ability to sing out those feelings, that pain, in such a powerful way that the listener somehow feels inside Mary’s head as she revisits the wreckage of her past. 

Mary has carved out a timeless and highly regarded career, with a legion of devoted fans worldwide. Her 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 stage is her home. To hear Mary sing is truly to be at the core of the human spirit and heart. 

Her first album, Tired and emotional. sold 100,000 copies in Ireland in 1985. She has recorded 15 further solo albums, most recently the searing song cycle ‘Scars on the Calendar’ with Erik Visser. Throughout the 90’s, Mary was selling out some of the UK’s most prestigious venues, including the Mean Fiddler, London’s Astoria and the Liverpool Philharmonic. She has since gone on to tour in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Scandinavia and the U.K. 

She has taken the classic standards of jazz balladry and the recent gems of rock and Irish song-writing, shaken them and offered them up anew, like jewels dripping from the deep, strewn on black velvet. She sings in the voice of the wrong and wronged woman and she makes us think what it is men make of women and what women have to do to make do.

But this is not why Mary Coughlan is the greatest female vocalist these islands have ever produced. It’s not even why she stands alongside, or even between, the bruised, battered but unbeaten giants of jazz chanson on both sides of the Atlantic, Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf. Mary Coughlan is the only singer these shores have produced to rival the greatest of European cabaret and American jazz club blues because of one thing: her voice. She is unique in blending the whisky-blurred, smoke-seared, husky notes and laconic wit of Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee and the line of deep, down and dirty blues singers back to Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith with the sardonic, bitter-sweet defiance and despair of the Piaf chanteuse, born out of war, in the shadow of Brecht, at war with the world, men and finally herself. And Mary Coughlan enfolds it all in a delicious and unapologetic Irish drawl, sceptical, rueful, mournful and melting, ardent for love, all in one voice which wraps itself around Cole Porter and Jerome Kern, Elvis Presley and Joy Division, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and sails down that long river of blues that links the Mississippi to the Liffey in her magnificent Galway accent.

Mary Coughlan is a true artist and an incorrigible disturber of the peace. Her grace and courage in the face of the challenges that life has thrown at her have endeared to fans in Ireland and around the world. In her native land, she is treasured not just a musician of rare sensitivity and talent, but as someone who gives a voice to difficult subjects and uncomfortable truths about Irish society. One thing is for sure, you will be taken on a journey of devastatingly beautiful, wide-ranging and engaging songs, from a woman who has battled her demons and won, transforming them into art, an enduring testament to Mary Coughlan’s seemingly timeless and endless brilliance.

Tickets for this great gig are on sale now, and are available online on, and in Marians Bookshop. O’Connell St. Clonmel , and South Tipperary Arts Centre, Nelson Street Clonmel,. 

Doors for the gig will open at 8pm. There will be no support act, and the band will start at 9pm prompt. Tickets are available in  Premier Music Centre Clonmel on 052 6129811, from Gerry Lawless on 086 3389619


“Ireland has never produced a singer quite like Mary Coughlan. Indeed anything like Mary Coughlan. .” -Irish Times
Tom Waits has met his Irish match.” * * * *The UK Guardian

“The emotional purity in Mary Coughlan’s songs is so fragile that it is possible to become inconsolable when listening to her in a darkened room.”Q Magazine

“A song is not complete unless it has been sung by Mary Coughlan.”  – Melody Maker

“Her talent is awesome.”  – The London Times

“Mary’s live performances have to be seen to be believed.”NME


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