|Birth name||Margaret Cleary Barry|
|Origin||County Cork, Ireland|
|Died||1989 (aged 71–72)
Lawrencetown, County Down, Ireland
|Genres||Traditional Irish, Sean Nós|
|Associated acts||Michael Gorman|
Margaret Barry (1917–1989) was an Irish Traveller, traditional singer and banjo player. She became a well-known name on the London folk scene in the 1950s, with her distinctive singing style and idiosyncratic banjo accompaniment. Born Margaret Cleary in Cork into a family of Travellers and street singers, she taught herself how to play the zither banjo and the fiddle at a young age. At the age of sixteen, after a family disagreement, Margaret left home and started performing as a street musician.
In the early 1950s she moved to London. With her flamboyant delivery and idiosyncratic banjo-playing, Barry became well known in the pubs and clubs of Irish London, where she was frequently accompanied by the fiddler Michael Gorman. Barry's singing and banjo playing became a major influence on the younger generation of ballad singers in Ireland and the UK, including Luke Kelly.
One song for which Barry is particularly noted is "She Moved Through the Fair". Asked by an interviewer, Karl Dallas, whether she had learned it from her family or from other Travellers, she replied cheerfully, "Oh, no. I got it off a gramophone record by Count John McCormack".
The accompanying book to the Topic Records 70 year anniversary boxed set Three Score and Ten lists Her Mantle So Green as one of the classic albums:16 and The Factory Girl from Street Songs and Fiddle Tunes of Ireland with Michael Gorman is track 9 on the third CD in the set.
- 1957 Street Songs and Fiddle Tunes (with Michael Gorman) Topic 10T6
- 1959 Songs of an Irish Tinker Lady Riverside RLP 602
- 1965 Her Mantle So Green (with Michael Gorman) Topic 12T123
- Queen of the Tinkers Top Rank 25020
- The Hills of Donegal Washington WV 731
- Irish Songs and Tunes (with Michael Gorman) Folkways 8729
- She Moves Through the Fair Folktracks 60-070 (cassette)
- 1967 The Blarney Stone (with Michael Gorman) Transatlantic XTRA 5037
- 1976 Ireland's Own Outlet SOLP 1029
- 1994 Her Mantle So Green (with Michael Gorman) Topic TSCD474
- Come Back Paddy Reilly Emerald GEM 1003
- Travellin' People from Ireland (with Pecker Dunne)
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (November 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Pohle, Horst (1987) The Folk Record Source Book; 2nd ed. p. 22 (for discography)