For the first time in three decades The Black Family - Shay, Michael, Mary, Martin and Frances are returning for a very special reunion in Ireland. Their unique vocal sound was first heard by the nation on the Late, Late Show back in 1986 and is still remembered as something very special to this day. These rare performances from this legendary Irish family are not to be missed. The dates can be found on the gigs page.
The Black Family have also been confirmed for Joanie Madden's Folk'n'Irish Cruise which will take place in early February 2018, see www.joaniemaddencruise.com
We have added six live videos to our Videos section from Shay and Michael's session at Studio 55.
Shay and Michael will be teaming up again with sisters, Mary and Frances, along with the singing nieces, Aoife and Roisin O, for Joanie Madden's "Folk'n'Irish Cruise". They will also be joined by virtuoso guitarist, Bill Shanley and accordionist/keyboardist, Kathleen Boyle. More details: www.joaniemaddencruise.com
Shay and Michael are also confirmed with the band for the KMVR Celtic Festival in Grass Valley in September 30th - October 2nd. More details: kvmrcelticfestival.org
Shay has been invited to teach singing at the O'Flaherty's Irish Music Retreat in Midlothian, Texas on October 14-16th. More details: www.oflahertyretreat.org
Black Brothers Concerts 2016
Celebrate being the Irish March Madness by spending enchanted evenings with the Black Brothers Band, who make every day seem like St. Patrick’s Day. Led by the charismatic charmers from Dublin, Shay and Michael Black are the singing siblings from Ireland’s foremost family of song, The Black Family, which also includes their sisters Mary and Frances and brother Martin. Shay and Michael play an exciting mix of Dublin street songs, music hall songs and historical ballads. This year being the centenary of the 1916 Rising in Dublin, they will be adding songs from this era into the mix.
Songs of the Easter Rising:
The Easter Rising, also known as the Easter Rebellion, was an armed insurrection in Dublin during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic. Members of the Irish Volunteers, led by schoolmaster and Irish language activist Patrick Pearse and joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly, along with 200 members of Cumann na mBan (Women’s Auxiliary), seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic. The British Army quickly suppressed the Rising, and most of the leaders were executed following courts-martial, but the Rising succeeded in bringing Republicanism back to the forefront of Irish politics. Two years later Republicans won 73 Irish seats out of 105 in the 1918 General Election to the British Parliament, on a policy of abstentionism and Irish independence. On 21 January 1919 they convened the First Dáil and declared the independence of the Irish Republic.
There are numerous songs from this era commemorating the Rebellion and memorializing the people who took part in it. Songs like "James Connolly" (from the first Black Family album), sad personal stories from the Rebellion like the song "Grace", humorous ditties like "Join the British Army", have been in the family for years. Shay and Michael have a particular fondness for these songs, and haven't sung many of them since their childhood. Singing in close harmony, the brothers draw people in with their energy, wit and superb musicianship. They have a special fondness for chorus songs and love to hear their audience sing.
Singing in close harmony, Michael and Shay draw people in with their energy, wit and superb musicianship. They have a special fondness for chorus songs and love to hear their audience sing. Shay has been teaching song repertoire at The Freight on Monday nights for the past six years.
Shay and Michael grew up in Dublin and both moved to England in the 1970s, eventually settling in San Francisco for Michael and Shay in Berkeley. They’ve recorded one album with their brother Martin as The Black Brothers and three with sisters Mary and Frances as The Black Family. Michael has one self-titled solo album which was produced by guitar virtuoso and fellow Dubliner John Doyle. The Irish Echo, in its review, praised Michael as “a gifted, accomplished, sensitive ballad singer with a discerning taste in songs.” Shay has recorded and toured with the illustrious Stan Hugill, shanty group Stormalong John, Irish band Garva, The California Revels, Shira Kammen, and many other local artists. Last year he released the album Singer’s Request with Celia Ramsay.
The Black Brothers Band also features fiery fiddle virtuoso San Francisco based fiddler Bobbi Nikles, who is an acclaimed force in the Bay Area music scene. With projects ranging from creating the successful music camp Fiddlekids to performing in a wide array of bands and styles, her presence abounds. Her luscious fiddling and driving rhythm add fuel to every performance, and she has also played with Wake the Dead, Melanie O'Reilly’s Aishling and many more. Bobbi has been a contributor to Strings magazine with articles on bowing technique and instrument evaluation. A sought after teacher at camps, workshops and in her private studio, Bobbi's creative and nurturing style naturally incorporates her depth of knowledge and her experience as a teacher for over 30 years.
Also from Dublin is piano player Eamonn Flynn, who was the keyboardist on the 12 million selling movie soundtrack The Commitments. Now living in San Francisco, he has gone on to record and tour worldwide with such luminaries as Michael Franti and Spearhead, Evelyn 'Champagne' King, Elvin Bishop, Pee Wee Ellis, Donald Harrison, Bernard Purdie, Grant Green Jr., Coco Montoya, Michelle Shocked, Maria Muldaur, Tony Lindsay (Santana), and a 10 year stint with legendary New Orleans drummer Zigaboo Modeliste. His driving piano style adds excitement to the Black Brothers jigs and reels.
Rounding out the sound is cellist Myra Joy, who has been with the band for over thirteen years. She began playing cello as a child and holds a degree from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 2007, she released an album of original compositions. She is a founding member of Elameno Quintet and Sweet Moments of Confusion. Myra has also collaborated with many musicians and ensembles including Kitka, Hans York, Melanie O'Reilly, Druid Sister's Tree Party, the pickPocket Ensemble, and Hamed Nikpay.
With many Irish musical options in the month of March, don’t miss The Black Brothers Band as they embark on another annual tour of Northern California. Their joy in performing, their love of a good story, and their charm and wit make an evening spent in their company one to savor.
Full list of tour dates can be found on the Gigs page
Shay Black is the eldest brother of Ireland's well-loved Black Family. Shay is revered in the San Francisco Bay Area as a song-catcher and teaches classes in song repertory when he and his brother, Michael, aren't following their busy performance schedule as The Black Brothers. He has appeared on numerous recordings, including In Harmony’s Way, and hosts the Sunday night Irish seísun at the Starry Plow in Berkeley. Celia and Shay have been singing together at music camps and song circles for many years.
On January 15, 2015 at 8:00pm, Celia and Shay will perform music from their new duo album, Singer's Request at the Freight & Salvage coffeehouse in Berkeley. The will be joined on stage by Charlie Hancock, Patrice Haan, and Shay's brother, Michael Black. Tickets are for sale now.
The Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort
6979 Highway 140
P.O. Box 81 Midpines, CA 95345
Toll Free: 866.826.7108
|Black Brothers with the Sacret Heart String Ensemble||Ciara Duggan||Ciara Black|
This is a singing group for people of all musical experience levels! If you've never sung before, this workshop will free your voice! If you sing regularly, this workshop is a repertoire builder and a place to get together for holiday cheer sans commercialism. Learn and perform heartbreaking ballads, convivial drinking songs, songs that will make you and us laugh, and ... your favorite song that you've always wanted to sing ... with the wonderful support and guidance of Michael Black, a famed tradition and song keeper, and member of Ireland's well-known musical Black family. In honor of the holidays, hot drinks will be served during the workshop, and the workshop's final "class" will be a celebration and performance at a cozy pub !
Shay will teach four to six songs per class, with a later focus on singing alone, performing in front of people, singing in a session, and other subjects that students feel are important. If you like you may bring a recording device to help memorize melody. However, both lyrics and music will be posted weekly on The Freight website, so you can access the music throughout the course. Shay will provide the lyrics......lots of them!
The songs are mainly from Ireland and the Irish diaspora. Other songs come from the Scottish, English and sea music traditions. Everyone will be learning songs on a line-by-line basis, and then the class members sing the song together. There is no pressure in this class, just the joy of singing with others, and learning lots of songs.
Shay will call on his extensive knowledge of the Irish, English, Scottish, and other folk traditions to pull new songs up and his teaching style is through learning by repetition, so no background knowledge of music theory is necessary. "If you can hum it, you can sing it."
Please pass this information on to friends/family. And if they can't make it on Monday, drop Shay a line at Shay_Black@Hotmail.com and he will let people know when the next class starts.
Song written by Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys.
Permission to add additional verses given to Shay Black and others by the Corrigan Brothers (Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys). Click here for lyrics. Click here for a statement from Shay and Ger Corrigan