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Strange Brew presents

Mary Coughlan - 40th Anniversary Tour

Town Hall Theatre

 Mary Coughlan 40th Anniversary Tour

Mary Coughlan is one of Ireland’s greatest-ever jazz and blues artists and is often spoken about in the same breath as singers like Peggy Lee and Billie Holliday.

A prolific artist by anyone’s standards, Coughlan is celebrating 40 years in music this year with a nationwide tour (details below) and new music to be released throughout 2024 – the first of which is ‘More Like Brigid’, an homage to the original Goddess of Imbolc herself, Brigid of Kildare.

Brigid was a pagan and a healer before she was canonized by the Catholic Church. As displayed in the writings of Cogitosus, a monk of Kildare who wrote the oldest extant vita of Saint Brigid, Vita Sanctae Brigidae, around 650 BC, “Bridid’s power expanded beyond the physical realm into the spiritual one, demonstrated by her ability to perform miracles.” There are over thirty miracles mentioned in the scripture, but a few particularly stand out, not least her ability to turn water into ale and the instance in which she “performed an abortion for a woman who had taken a vow of virginity, but ‘lapsed through weakness into youthful concupiscence.’ … the record of the miracle notes the fetus in the woman’s womb simply, painlessly disappeared… While her miracles did not appear to cause a stir while she was alive, after her death and sainthoodthey became an issue for the church. As well as her miracles, the fact that a woman held so much power over men within the institution made her a target for the papacy.”

Mary Coughlan says of her inspiration for writing this song: “Brigid was fierce and courageous and always went against the norm. She had a monastery and it was for men and women! I have been called ‘hysterical’ and ‘hormonal’ over the years by various industry figures for being so indignant as to ask to be paid for my work, things like that… So, needless to say, my homage to Brigid has given me a chance to air some of those frustrations that are so often experienced by women.”

The artwork for ‘More Like Brigid’ is an image of a portrait of Coughlan that was painted by the multidisciplinary artist Eilis De Faoite and subsequently projected on St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare and Galway City Museum over the St Brigid’s Weekend festival illuminations in 2021.

Mary Coughlan is one of our greatest singers because over 40 years she has made the most grown-up, uncompromising, wholly personal yet utterly universal music on either side of the Atlantic about what goes on between men and women.

It's hard to believe that four decades have passed since Coughlan went into the studio to record her debut album, Tired and Emotional.



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