Traditional singer Maggie Murphy (second from left) at Slieve Gullion Festival of Traditional Singing, Mullaghbawn, Co Armagh, October 1993: from colour photo by Ken Garland, London. Photo © Ken Garland, courtesy Ken Garland & Irish Traditional Music Archive
Maggie Murphy (née Chambers, 1924–2006) from Tempo, Co Fermanagh, learned songs from her mother and father at home and from her fellow farmer workers when out on hire. Discovered and recorded by the BBC in 1952, she was heard on radio and record but withdrew from public performance after marriage. From the 1980s she came to attention again at singing festivals across Ulster, and appeared on radio and television. She can be heard on her solo CD Linkin’ o’ the Lea (Veteran VT134CD, 1996), on other commercial recordings, and on field recordings of the Irish Traditional Music Archive made by Seán Corcoran.
Graphic designer Ken Garland is also a photographer with many exhibitions to his name. From 1990 he photographed Irish traditional singers and their audiences at northern singing festivals, and in 1999 mounted ‘The Singing’, an exhibition of 70 sympathetic and revealing portraits of traditional singers which he has donated to the ITMA (see www.itma.ie/English/visual_materials.html for other samples).
Published on 1 January 2009