As well as balancing her work as a senator and a therapist, acclaimed singer Frances Black still finds the time to perform. Kieran O’Mahony caught up with her ahead of her concert at Cork Opera House next week, where she joins Mary Coughlan and Sharon Shannon for what’s set to be a very special night
IT’S a no brainer really. Put three of the country’s leading female singers and musicians on stage together and you’re in for a cracker of a night. What’s more is that all three - Frances Black, Mary Coughlan and Sharon Shannon - are actually really good friends and go back many years to the time of when ‘A Woman’s Heart’ was released so the fun on stage is sincere.
‘I guess it was around the early 2000s when the three of us went on tour together around Holland and it was only in the last couple of years that our agent said why don’t the three of ye do something together? So we’ve been doing on and off gigs like this for a while and decided to a batch in September with five dates around the country,’ Frances told The Southern Star.
‘I really love doing this gig because there’s a good atmosphere, a good vibe and there’s great craic on the road. We’re three completely different personalities but we’re really good friends. Either myself or Mary will swap around on a show and go on first or second and then Sharon will always go third and we all do 35 minutes and then we all come back on at the end and do an encore of usually two or three songs and it’s lovely.’
Playing gigs with others is something that Frances thoroughly enjoys too.
‘I just like to do gigs with different people rather than doing my own gigs. I find it more enjoyable when I’m working with Kieran or Mary or Sharon and I just enjoy it much more and it takes the pressure off you,’ added Frances.
For someone who admits to never having any intention of going into the music industry things have worked out pretty well for Frances over the past 30 years.
‘It’s bizarre really because none of this was planned. It just organically happened for me and there’s been lots of highs and lows and ups and downs throughout the 30 years. It’s been an amazing journey and it has brought me into a place today where I’m very happy to be able to perform on stage but also to be able to work on the things I’m passionate about. I went back to college to be a therapist. I feel very lucky to be able to do jobs l love.’
As well as being a singer and a therapist Frances takes her role as a senator very seriously.
‘It’s a huge privilege to have been elected into the Seanad. I’m in a great group, we are all independens. There are six of us and we’re called the Civil Engagement Group and we all come from civil society backgrounds and we all know what hard work is and we are all very passionate about the issues that we are working on.’
With such a musical family including her sister Mary, nephew Danny O’Reilly from the Coronas and Roisin O, it’s no surprise to learn that Frances’ daughter Aoife Scott is also making inroads in the music industry.
‘Aoife is currently on a six week tour in America and she just won the Folk Artist of the Year. She and Roisin are so different. In fact, both my kids are in the music industry and nearly all Mary’s are in it too. She had a big song ‘All Along the Wild Atlantic Way and her album did really well.’
An Evening with Sharon Shannon, Mary Coughlan and Frances Black will take place at Cork Opera House on Thursday September 13th at 8pm. See www.corkoperahouse.ie for ticket info.