Norma Waterson likened her to Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf; Bob Dylan said she was his favourite folk singer; and Van Morrison called her ‘a real soul singer’…Margaret Barry was extraordinary.
Born in Cork on January 1, 1917 she left home at 16 with nothing but a bicycle and a banjo tied to her back with string as she set off to busk her way through the harsh streets of Ireland. What happened next is part of folk music legend.
Colin Irwin, music reviewer for The Guardian, fRoots and more and author of biographies for Neil Young and Bob Dylan, has created an extraordinary play-with-music retelling the story of Irish street singer Margaret Barry.
Titled She Moved Through The Fair, it recounts her unique life which took her into the company of Elvis and Frank Sinatra, via a TV debut courtesy of David Attenborough and discovery by Alan Lomax, beginning with her busking across Ireland by bike aged 16.
Mixing music by some of the greats of Irish music – Mary McPartlan, John Carty and Seamie O’Dowd – with acting by Gillian Horgan and Luke MacLeod, and narration by Colin himself, the show has already performed with great success at Celtic Connections, FolkEast, Whitby Folk Week and Sidmouth Folk Festival.