Mark Dignam at Whelan’s
Mark Dignam was born in Dublin, Ireland, and raised for the most part, in Finglas, a working-class suburb known for its rough-and-tumble character, soccer players, and some fine singers and musicians.
His mother, Maureen, sang around the house a lot, and the neighborhood itself, was soaked in music; Irish Traditional, Pop, Rock, Punk, Ska and Reggae tunes seemed to be everywhere.
In the late 1980s Mark and his fellow northside friend Glen Hansard, began busking on Grafton Street in the city center, meeting up with Mic Christopher, Kila, Miriam Ingram, Leslie Keye, et al, to establish a street performing phenomenon. It was a raucous mix of covers and originals which garnered a staunchly loyal, weekly following over three to four summers.
The group became a storied part of Dublins’s music history, and from the vantage point of their pavement stage, they were not unused to seeing members of The Waterboys, Van Morrison, or Sinead O’Connor in the audience. The police were also frequent visitors (not the band!).
Meanwhile through the early to mid 90s Mark became a popular member of Dublin’s influential songwriter scene, most notably Dave Murphy’s legendary sessions in historic venues around Grafton Street: The Bailey, McDaids and the International Bar.
After Mark’s first trip to the U.S in 1991, he began to hone his highly lyrical Folk-Rock sound, releasing Poetry and Songs from the Wheel in 1995. Ireland’s Hotpresss Magazine voted the record one of its top ten debut albums of that year, and hailed Mark as a powerful voice on the singer/songwriter scene.
He toured extensively in western Europe and the U.S, along with opening for Glen Hansard, The Swell Season, David Gray, Billy Bragg, Joan Armatrading, Richard Thompson and Richie Havens, to name-drop but a few.
The debut was followed by 1997s In a Time of Overstatement, And One for All in 2004, Box Heart Man, recorded with Detroit label Timesbeach Records in 2005 and “Rebuild” recorded with a live studio audience at Pittsburgh’s Treelady studios in 2014.
Mark currently lives around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States with his two, much-adored teenage children, and is working on a new album, titled An American Tune. The single ‘Angels Of Mercy’ was released in September 2021 from this forthcoming album.