Frances Black is one of the leading new artists to emerge in Ireland in
Her professional singing debut was in 1986, when she began performing with
her three brothers and sister (Shay, Michael, Martin, Mary, Frances) as The
Black Family, performing a mix of traditional and contemporary/traditional Irish
With The Black Family, she did two major tours of Ireland in the late 1980s,
and appears on both recorded albums. Her three brothers, Shay, Michael and
Martin, released an album, "What A Time" in 1995. on which Frances appears on
vocals and backing vocals on most of the tracks.
In 1988, after recording the second Black Family album, Frances joined the
group Arcady as vocalist (with former De Dannan member Johnny McDonagh, and
Brendan Larrissey, Patsy Broderick, Sean Keane, Cathal Hayden, Sharon Shannon, and
Paul Doyle). While Frances was with Arcady, the group toured internationally
- including Europe, Iraq and the U.S. - and recorded their debut album "After
The Ball", containing a mixture of traditional tunes and vocals/songs. The
album's title track - featuing Frances' lead vocal - was released as single and
went to number 7. The album was number 6 on the Irish charts and also
successful in the U.S.A
This growing popularity of Arcady in the U.S. meant that Frances was
increasingly spending more time touring overseas, and this conficted with the demands
of a young family. It was at this point that Frances decided to leave Arcady.
Her last tour with the group was to the U.S.A in August of 1992.
A short time after leaving Arcady in 1992, she began an association with
Irish singer/songwriter Kieran Goss of Newry, County Down. They recorded one
album "Frances Black & Keiran Goss" and toured together.
Also in 1992, two of her songs were included on the best-selling compilation
of Irish women singers, " Woman's Heart". The biggest-selling Irish album
ever, this album continued to hold a place on the Irish charts two years after
its original release, and had achieved sales of 350,000 by 1995. Frances toured
Ireland on the highly successful "Woman's Heart" Tour which, along with the
album, effectively introduced her to a very wide audience and moved her career
into a higher gear.
In March l993, Frances toured Australia and New Zealand with some 20 other
Irish musicians and artistes, as part of the Guinness "Celebration of Irish
Music" tour, and received rave reviews for her performances.
In late February 1994, Frances released her first single from her debut
album. The song, Christy Hennessey's "All The Lies You Told Me", received huge
airplay and reached no.3 in the lrish Singles Chart. The success of the single
signalled the arrival of Frances as a major new talent.
Released in 1994, "Talk To Me" was Frances' second album, and her first
solo effort. The album contains four Nanci Griffith songs - all unrecorded by
Nanci at the time of Talk To Me's release. These were "On Grafton Street",
"Talk To Me While I'm Listening", "Always Will", and "Time of Inconvenience". The
album also contained Vince Gill's "Colder Than Winter", and John Lennon's
"Intuition", as well as songs by Christie Hennessy, Donagh Long, and Mark Nevin
(of Fairground Attraction). "Talk To Me" went to number 1 on the Irish charts,
and remained there in the top 10-15 albums through the Autumn of 1994.
In September 1994, the second compilation of Irish women artistes, "A Womans
Heart 2" was released; it included two songs by Frances: "Talk To Me While
I'm Listening" from the "Talk To Me" album, and a previously unrecorded Mark
Nevin song, "Fear Is the Enemy of Love".
Frances has used her music actively to support various political,
environmental, and social issues. Her unaccompanied performance of Ewan MacColl's
"Legal/Illegal" is riveting, and showcases MacColl's biting commentary on inequities
in justice. In recent years, Frances has been active in support of battered
women and children, including, during 1994, performing at benefit concerts for
the Aoibhneas Women's Refuge, and releasing an EP, "Fear Is The Enemy Of Love"
in aid of the refuge. Her two children, Eoghan and Aoife, sing backing vocals
on the track.
During the Auttumn of 1994, Frances toured the U.S.A, and in March of 1995,
her second solo album, "The Sky Road" was released. During 1995, she toured
Ireland and the UK in support of the album and "A Woman's Heart 2", follwed by
another U.S. tour
In Ireland, Frances won a National Entertainments award in the Popular Music
category, and in April of 1995 won an I.R.M.A. award for the best album by an
Irish Female Artiste.
Frances' third solo recording, "The Smile On Your Face", was released in
1997. a wonderful assortment of songs by Irish, English and American songwriters.
This was followed in 1998 by her fourth solo recording, "Don't Get Me
Wrong". The same year saw Frances touring the USA with the Guiness Fleadhs,
performing in New York and Chicago.
The compilation "The Best Of Frances Black" was released in 2001, which
includes Frances' recordings with Arcady and The Black Family, as well as her solo
At the time of writing, The new Black Family album "Our Time Together" is
scheduled for release release on August 20th. An "Irish Unplugged" DVD is now
available, featuring seven songs by Frances, as well as tracks by Kieran Goss
and Dave Munnelly and Friends.
Frances Black performs eight concerts in the U.K in November, mainly in the
midlands and north of England and Scotland. There is no London show scheduled.
The only show in the "Folk On Tap" area is at South Parade Pier, Southsea on
Sunday, 11th November 2004.