Mary O'Hara IheScentofth Mary O'Hara's own remarkable, true story is the inspiring account of an unshakeable religious conviction and a great love story.
ÂŁ6.95 Copies of The Scent of the Roses are available at this concert and from all good bookshops.
Dudley Russell presents
Josephine Stewart and
John Franchi U.K. Tour - 26th September to 18th October 1980 Concert Productions Limited
In accordance with the requirements of the Greater London Council and the Watch Committees of the various towns and cities of the tour, the following conditions must be observed 1. The public may leave at the end of the performance by all exit and entrance doors and such doors must at that time be open. *ays, corridors, staircases and external passageways intended for exit shall be kept entirely fr Âť,.it or temporary. ,ons shall not be permitted to stand or sit in any of the gangways intersecting the seating, or to sit in any of the other gangways or any unseated space in the Auditorium, unless standing in such space has been specially allowed by the G.L.C. or the Watch Committee, as applicable. If standing be permitted in the gangways at the sides and the rear of the seating, it shall be limited to the numbers indicated in the notices exhibited in those positions. 4. The safety curtain must be lowered and raised once immediately before the commence in proper working order. 5. The Management reserve the right to change the programme without notice and are not held responsible for the non appearance of any artist. jjement reserve the right to refuse admittance.
Mary O'Har^will sing a selection frfm the following titles and more:The Unicorn Mon Pays Dust in the Wind I will walk*with m>r Ord mo Bhaidin The Scent of The Roses The Rainbow Connection The Garden Song I gave my love a Cherry Na Maori u (Child of the Woodland) The Bonnie Earl j>' Moray Try to Remember Prayer of the Badger ere have ft th| Flowery Gone J uare the^New Day Ct«pm aChuaichiin I know where I'm^ going Ah Ehideji Ai%i«y(The Silver Whistle) Luibin*o Lu % JWas and Mary Troftin' tp the Fail^% A§ I walk out one nesui«€ ^s day Ye|BaiTks and Braes Jraes AlfthrJ|gh lie Night i|r hyd y Noj) Pus^ |Villow Cat Tails^ Jhe Spanish Lady \l Dance
e ist Cattle (!jrocm Greenfinch and Linnet Bii
At the offices of Chrysalis Records in the last week of June this year, Mary was presented with a platinum Disc for her last album "TRANQUILITY". In the same week she was featured in the Sunday Times colour magazine, and was then off to Wales to do a TV show (part in Welsh). She was also preparing to record her fifth album for Chrysalis.
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Mary OHara % mSSXP
Mary O'Hara does not have much time to herself these days. In the short period since emerging from a 12 year seclusion in an English Benedictine Monastery, she has an impressive list of achievements to her credit. She has added four new LPs to the seven she had already recorded before her monastic sojourn; she has sung to capacity audiences in London's Royal Festival and Royal Albert Halls; she has had her own very successful week at the London Palladium and repeated her successes at New York's Carnegie Hall and in Toronto's Massey Hall. She has had specials on both ITV and BBC TV, and appeared on various chat shows on both sides of the Atlantic. Mary accompanies herself on the Celtic harp, and loves to sing traditional Gaelic songs of Ireland and Scotland as well as English folk songs. "She displays a unique sense of what folksong is about, more I dare say than anyone else in the current folk movement. She possesses one of the most haunting voices I've yet heard", wrote a reviewer in the English Folk Review. But Mary's songs are not limited to folk as the success of her recent album has proved. She is equally at home alone on the stage with her Celtic harp, or with her accompanying musicians, but she likes simplicity best and tries to avoid being swamped on stage in a mass of 'electronic ironmongery'. "There is magic and balm for the spirit in her serene .art and in the old and simple things. It would be good for the noisy distracted and confused world to pause more often and listen to such songs as Mary O'Hara sings." (The Southland Times, N.Z.)
There is a calm about Mary O'Hara's singing tha>gives peace, but there is more to it. Joyce Grenfell, writing in the Observer Review, stated it more succinctly: "Mary O'Hara's voice has a first day freshness in her singing". Mary O'Hara was born in the West of Ireland. After boarding school in Dublin, she took up playing the harp and at 16 was singing on Irish Radio. Before she was 21 she had her own programme on BBC TV and was singing at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival, which tempted the reviewer in The Scotsman to write: "The outstanding performance this year was by Mary O'Hara. Everyone who saw and heard her assures me that she undoubtedly stole the whole giddy Festival Show".
Mary, making the news early in her career -
Baron s Profiles of 1956
Mary O'Hara is pure Burne-Jones. One hopes that her hair will never really settle down; that the fey Irishness of her personality will not be tamed by constant appearances on the television screen. When she plucks at her small Irish harp, and sings some Gaelic lullaby, one is transported into the blue hills and the soft mist of the Irish countryside. The lilting artistry of her folk songs is more than beguiling but it does not conceal a strong, maybe wayward personality. The profile is half peasant, half patrician. It is hoped that the young American undergraduate whom she has captivated will not bear this gentle charmer too soon from our shores.
from the pages of the London Evening Standard.
Mary O'Hara met and married a young American poet and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Richard Selig, and went to live in the United States. Their marriage was not destined to last long, for within 15 months Richard had died. By then Mary had recorded a number of albums for Decca and had appeared in the United States, where the folk boom of the sixties was just beginning. After a performance at the Phillips Gallery in New York, Paul Hume, writing in the Washington Post, claimed that, "she raised to a new high level the art of folksinging". But after her young husband's death, the zest had gone out of life for Mary. For four years she travelled the globe giving concerts and appearing on radio and TV. The critics were unanimous in their praise, but the more success she had the more persistently she felt the call to the monastic life. Eventually she entered an enclosed Benedictine monastery in England.
After 12 years the monastic stay was over and Mary carried on where she had left off. In November 1977 her major 'comeback' concert at London's Royal Festival Hall demonstrated to the capacity crowd that she had successfully renewed her career. She sang for the first time with accompanying musicians and her repertoire included contemporary songs as well as some of her own compositions. An album of that concert earned her a silver disc. There followed TV Specials on the BBC and ITV, and a concert tour of England and Ireland. She filled London's Royal Albert Hall and later the Carnegie Hall in New York. The New York Times critic wrote "Singing traditional Celtic material and ballads , accompanying herself with adept and delicate filigree on the Irish harp, Mary O'Hara is mesmerising".
Mary OHam Later she took part in the Golden Gala at the London Palladium and before starting her own season at that theatre, she was invited to perform for the Queen Mother in the Royal Variety Show. Then there was 'Stars on Sunday', the 'Val Doonican Music Show', 'James Galway's World of Music', and many others. Readers of the Irish Post voted her Irish Person of the Year in 1978.
Where does Mary O'Hara go from here? A tour of the U.K. is arranged for this autumn and the following Spring; New Zealand and Australia after Christmas. In the meantime, another new album from Chrysalis Records, and also this autumn sees the publication of Mary's Autobiography, "The Scent of The Roses", published by Michael Joseph. This will keep Mary busy for the immediate future. She prefers to live each day as it comes, and does not like to plan too far ahead, although this is not always possible.
Mary OHam's Discogmphy "SONGS OF ERIN" (Decca Beltona, LBE 13) "LOVE SONGS OF IRELAND" (Decca Beltona, LB20) "SONGS OF IRELAND" (Everest, TLP 1024) "MARY O'HARA'S IRELAND" (Decca Emerald, GES 1095) "MARY O'HARA'S SCOTLAND" (Decca Emerald, GES 1116) "MARY O'HARA'S MONDAY TUESDAY - Songs for Children" (Decca Emerald, GES 1157) "FOCUS ON MARY O'HARA" (Decca, FOS 49/50) MARY O'HARA AT THE ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL" (Chrysalis, 1159) "MARY O'HARA MUSIC SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS" (Chrysalis, 1194) "MARY O'HARA IN HARMONY" (Chrysalis, 1217) "MARY O'HARA TRANQUILITY" (Warwick, WW 5072) "MARY O'HARA, FAREWELL BUT WHENEVER" (Pye/Hammer, HMR 9004)
Twenty years ago, after hearing Mary give an impromptu performance at the time of the Edinburgh Festival, Sir Compton McKenzie said: "This voice has got to be recorded so everyone can hear how beautiful it is." And so it has been. Considering her twelve years' absence from the music world, twelve record albums is not a bad effort. And there will be more to come. On Eamonn Andrews' ITV programme "This is your Life", Joyce Grenfell remarked: "Mary's God-given gift was her voice, and what is surely meant for her, is to sing to as many people as possible". August 1980
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((A joy to listen to with a voice which is fresh and easy in an unschooled way, yet clear as a bell. This graceful girl in the simple cotton dress transported us far from the razzamatazz of the Palladium to a simple folk evening in some Irish village. 99 Evening News.
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.fit was a light airy evening of the poetic agelessness and traditional foKmusic, made possible by the clyjrming quality of the singer's vo pe and her exquisite mystery of her; harp. 99 Thk Windsor Star.
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KODAK SAFETY FILM SO63
PRAYER OF THE BADGER
by George Scott-Moncrieff Lord, I do love the darkness, The hours folk call the night. Where others see but darkness, I know a Lordly light. The light that burns within Each breathing hopeful heart, And gives all living kin A godliness some part. Lord, I do love the sunlight, Reflected by the moon. I move by it at midnight, But hide from it at noon. Your daylight dawning blinds me Reveals me from above, Ungainly and unkindly Unworthy of Your love. Lord, I do love the darkness, The hours folk call the night. Where others see but blackness, I know a Lordly light. I dance between the trees Of this cathedral wood, I scent the gentlest breeze And know Your will is good.
A LIFE INTHE DAYOF MARYO'HARA Psalm 139 sets me up for the day. I lie in bed when I awake and reflect on its words every morning: 'O Lord, You search me and You know me . . .' I used to be a very irregular riser, getting up anytime between nine and noon. Mainly, I think, as a reaction to the years I spent in a monastery where I had to get up at five every morning. But now I've schooled myself to wake up at eight. Almost my first act is to go downstairs and see what the postman has popped through the letterbox. I sit on the doormat and go through the post. The guest room is round the corner and friends who come to stay complain that the assorted chuckles and chortles I emit in response to my mail wake them up. Ablutions are followed religiously by 20 minutes callisthenics in the study - with Terry Wogan's patter on Radio-2 for company. I often get ideas for songs from listening to Terry's programme. However, when I'm having breakfast or washing up I switch to Radio-3. Breakfast is unvarying. It's always fresh fruit followed by oatmeal porridge with pure bran, wheatgerm and honey. Until recently, I used to have cream and milk but the herbalist who's been treating me for sinus trouble discovered that I was allergic to milk products. I rarely drink tea or coffee, when I do it's usually herbal tea. I do all my own housework and, having rushed through the chores, I settle down to some practice. This involves doing vocal and harp exercises, learning new accompaniments, revising old songs and composing new materials. I am also sent lots of sheet music to browse over. Personally, I prefer music to be sent on cassettes as I don't have a piano at home. Around this time my manager, John Coast, calls me on the phone.
I've only been with him a short while but already he knows not to disturb me before lla.m. We discuss various projects he's got lined up for me -1 usually find my practice sessions take on greater urgency after he's called. Since coming under the care of a herbalist I've had to regulate my eating habits. So at one o'clock everything stops for lunch - two slices of wholemeal bread, a lightly boiled egg, fruit juice and nuts. I make myself have three meals a day because I don't want to lose weight. I eat sensibly, mainly health foods. After lunch I put on jeans and wellies and set out on a walk lasting anything up to two hours. It's probably the most important activity of my day. I live in a cottage on a 1200-acre estate on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border surrounded by beautiful country, so I can walk for miles through meadows, fields and woods - seeing sheep, horses, cows and the odd deer without coming across another human. If I've had to to go away recording during the day I take my walk at night, with a lantern. At first people on the estate thought I was a poacher, but now they've got used to my nocturnal habits. On my walk my mind is completely relaxed. Although I relate well to people it's in my nature to be a loner. I'm enriched by friendships but I'm very content to be by myself. When I left the monastery, after a second bout of what can best be des-
cribed as nervous and physical exhaustion, I had no desire to take up my previous occupation as a professional singer. It was very reluctantly that I agreed to go back to singing. The trappings of show business don't interest me. I'm content to go to a concert hall or television studio, perform as best I can and then jump into 'Marco the Dragon' [her red Volkswagen Polo] and return to my cottage, walks and, in the summer, tennis. I love the grace and movement of tennis. I only wish I could play it all the year round. I return home from my walk about four o'clock ready to tackle my correspondence. I get lots of letters from people who've been affected one way or the other by my music and I answer them all. I write the letters sitting on the floor with the writing pad on my knees. I'm frightfully scatty, forever losing things like my precious address book or my diary. But I get on to St Anthony [the patron saint of lost property] and ask him to get cracking. He's never failed me so far. Only a few weeks ago I left my handbag in a taxi in London and, within three days, it arrived by first-class post with everything intact. Inside was a note, signed 'an admirer', taking me to task for being careless and informing me that as a reward my admirer had bought goods worth ÂŁ50 off one of my credit cards. Early in the evening I look through
Radio Times and TV Times and mark the programmes I want to see. I would never miss The Muppets, Fawlty Towers or the Attenborough programmes. But the television is never switched on before I sit down to dinne about 7p.m. Until I was taken off dairy products I used to be a vegetarian. But now that I've been pu back on meat I have lamb, chicken or beef with plenty of raw vegetables and fruit to follow. If there's a recording session or a concert coming up I wiU spend a large part of the evening practising sometimes even late into the night The estate stables are next door to my cottage and one of the stable lads tells me that a couple of the horses are susceptible to my music - especially at night. I'm rarely in bed before midnight even though I keep promising mysel an early night. I often write letters in bed, but nearly always I read. At the moment it's Van der Post's biography of Jung. I tend to re-read; I've re cently gone back to Tolkien and Tagore. Then before I shut my eye I reach for my seven vitamin pill and down them with a drink o lemon and honey. I picked up the formula in a I health food shop I in Canada. It's â€˘ perfect for a good night's sleep. |
What the Critics Say "Only a poet could avoid gaucherie in describing, song by song, Mary O'Hara's recital Naivete and worldly wisdom are magically welded into a style that can express all that is human and moving and totally unaffected by time." F.C. Campbell in the WASHINGTON EVENING STAR "Mary O'Hara . . . is simply without peer. She possesses one of the most lovely voices it's ever been my happy lot to listen to . . . gives deathless beauty of everything she sings." FOLK REVIEW (U.K.) "Mary O'Hara's voice has a first day freshness in her singing..." Joyce Grenfell in the OBSERVER REVIEW (U.K.) "... In her area of entertainment she is without peer and it can only be hoped that she can be brought to increasing audiences . . . She alone at this time can convey what is most exquisite and delicate in Irish culture." THE IRISH POST (U.K.)
"The rest of the evening was entertainment: this was beauty". Charles Acton, IRISH TIMES "Mary O'Hara . . . is steeped in traditional music. This she treats artistically to gain the perfection which the ethnic singer never seems to attain. " Liam Clancy "Her accompaniments on the harp had the same skill and musical insight as her singing Christchurch Star, N.Z. "Mary O'Hara displays a unique sense of what folk-song is about â€” more I dare say than almost anyone in the current folk movement. She possesses one of the most haunting voices I've yet heard . . . always raising the simplist song to her own high standards." Folk Review, (England Nov 1975) "Exquisite purity and delicacy that almost defies description. " Evening Star, Washington DC
Mary O'Hara reveals a world of beauty. " GRAMAPHONE (U.K.)
A programme "Ishould have been sorry to miss" Maurice Wiggan, Sunday Times, London
"The texture of her voice is compounded of the same gentle and elusive sweetness as the sound of her harp." Robert Shelton in the NEW YORK TIMES
"My songs are my biography. I sing songs only that I can identify with. That's why "God-Songs" mean so much to me." Mary O'Hara
"Mary O'Hara gives a sense of timelessness and agelessness and the original sense of what song is for. " Joyce Grenfell
"Attractive and charming, she has the rare ability to really transport her audience. Whether she sings about loneliness or love, God and or Fairies, her art is the kind that takes one into the world of pure poetry. " The Word Magazine
She raised to a new high level the art of folksinging." Paul Hume in the WASHINGTON POST "Hers is the art that conceals art. " Evening Post, New Zealand WEXFORD FESTIVAL OF ARTS." . . . Mary O'Hara's magic undimmed." Irish Times, Dublin "An aura of genius attends her, something indefinable which goes straight to the heart Evening Press, Dublin
"In her own particular field I know few to equal and none to excel Mary O'Hara. Charles Acton, Irish Times "Mary O'Hara has long been established as one of Irelands finest musicians. She is a singer and harpist of distinction and has elevated the best of the greatest Irish tradition to a level of consumate artistry in her performances." Gerrard Victory, Director of Music, RTE â€” Irish Television "There is magic and balm for the spirit in her serene art and in the old and simple things, some of them once sad, but now distilled into poetry, of which she sings. It would be good for the noisy distracted and confused world to pause more often and listen to such songs as Mary sings."
The Southland Times, N.Z.
Mary OHam m Sept 26th Sept. 28th Sept. 30th Oct. 2nd Oct. 4th Oct. 6th Oct. 8th Oct. 10th Oct. 12th Oct. 14th Oct. 16th Oct. 18th
EDINBURGH Playhouse GLASGOWTheatre Royal PRESTON Guild Hall ASHTON-u-LYNE Tameside Theatre SUNDERLAND Empire Theatre DERBY Assembly Rooms BIRMINGHAM Town Hall LONDON Royal Albert Hall PORTSMOUTH Guildhall SLOUGH Thames Hall CROYDON Fairfield Hall BOURNEMOUTH Winter Gardens
Concert Production Dudley Russell Dolphin Concert Productions Ltd., Alvescot, Oxfordshire OX8 2QA Tel: 0993-843541 Cables: DOCOPRO Oxford
Tour Management: Stan Simmons Sound Equipment: Dick Lock Assistant to Dudley Russell: Pauline Sam worth
For Mary O'Hara Worldwide Management: John Coast 1, Park Close Knightsbridge London SW1X 7PQ Assistant to Mary O'Hara: Sarah Hook The article on P. 16 is reproduced by permission of Glenn Gale and the Sunday Times
If you wish to be kept informed of all future Mary O'Hara concerts, records, TV, and other activities why not join the MARY O'HARA CLUB. Write to: Mary O'Hara Club West Moors Wimborne Dorset BH22 OJD
Programme photographs by: Sarah Hook, and
Peter Pugh-Cook Programme designed and printed by: Husselbees Design and Print Ltd., Westfield House, Bampton Road, Aston, Oxon. _____ Further copies may be obtained by sending ÂŁ1.00 to D.C.P. Ltd., Alvescot, Oxon. OX8 2QA
^ MARY O'HARA AT THE FESTIVAL HALL Album CHR1159 Cassette ZCHR1159
MUSIC SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS Album CHR1194CassetteZCHR1194
IN HARMONY AlbumCHR 1217 Cassette ZCHR 1217
TRANQUILITY Album WW5072
LOOK OUT FOR THE FORTHCOMING ALBUM V
"THE SCENT OF THE ROSES" AVAILABLE SOON ON CHRYSALIS RECORDS
Mary O'Hara concert brochure from her UK tour of 1980