Mary Hansen

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For other people named Mary Hansen, see Mary Hansen (disambiguation).
Mary Hansen
Stereolab mary hansen.jpg
Mary Hansen (left) with Lætitia Sadier in Stereolab, Central Park, New York City, 1995
Background information
Birth name Mary Therese Hansen
Born (1966-11-01)1 November 1966
Maryborough, Queensland, Australia
Died 9 December 2002(2002-12-09) (aged 36)
London, United Kingdom
Genres Post-rock, indie rock, indie pop
Occupation(s) Vocalist, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, percussion, keyboards, bass guitar
Years active 1986–2002
Associated acts The Wolfhounds, Stereolab, Schema

Mary Therese Hansen (1 November 1966 – 9 December 2002) was an Australian-born guitarist and singer. She was a member of United Kingdom-based alternative music group Stereolab from 1992. As a member of that band, Hansen recorded six studio albums from Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements (August 1993) to Sound-Dust (August 2001). As a side-project, in late 1999 she formed the space rock group Schema with members of Seattle-based band Hovercraft, and they issued their debut album, Schema, on 19 September 2000. On 9 December 2002 a truck hit and killed Hansen while she was bicycling in London. She was 36 years old.


Mary Therese Hansen was born on 1 November 1966 in Maryborough, 255 kilometres (158 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane.[1] Her father, Brendan Percival Hansen, OAM (21 August 1922 – 19 December 1999), was a unionist and Australian Labor Party parliamentarian – both federal (member for Wide Bay from 1961 to 1974) and state (member for Maryborough from 1977 to 1983); and her mother Moira Ann Hansen (née O'Sullivan), was a light opera singer and is contributor to the Maryborough arts community.[1] Her parents are both descended from Irish families. Brendan's parents were Percy Hansen and Mary Ann (née Rowley). On 11 June 1960 Brendan and Moira married at St Mary's Catholic Church, Maryborough.[2][3] Mary Hansen was one of eight children, with her three brothers John, Tim and Jerry and her four sisters Jenny, Maureen, Susie and Kate.[2] Hansen was trained by Moira and entered eisteddfodau, she left secondary school at age of 17 and worked in a bank.[1]

By 1988 Hansen had moved to London and soon became a backing singer with the Essex-based indie band The Wolfhounds. She met guitarist Tim Gane when The Wolfhounds played alongside his indie pop band, McCarthy. Gane formed an alternative music group, Stereolab, in 1990 with Lætitia Sadier (ex-McCarthy). Hansen joined Stereolab as second vocalist and guitarist in 1992. She also contributed percussion, keyboards, and occasional lead vocals.[4] As a member of that band, Hansen recorded six studio albums from Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements (August 1993) to Sound-Dust (August 2001).[4]

Outside of her work with Stereolab, Hansen sang on records by Brokeback, The High Llamas, Moonshake, and Mouse on Mars.[4] She was a record producer for the London group Chicano. In late 1999, Hansen combined with Seattle-formed space rock group Hovercraft to form Schema. They performed both vocal and instrumental tracks, with Hansen also adding some synthesiser. An eponymous maxi-EP/mini-album was released on 19 September 2000 on avant-garde Kill Rock Stars imprint, 5 Rue Christine.[5] AllMusic's François Couture described their style as "space rock, psychedelic rock, ambient pop, and artsy avant-rock" with the feature track being "Echolalia... Curvilinear" with its "ethereal female vocals, lots of guitar noise, and a driving rhythm section".[5]

On 9 December 2002, a truck hit and killed Hansen while she was riding her bicycle in London.[6] She was 36 years old. She had remained a member of Stereolab until her death. The band's subsequent release, Margerine Eclipse (2004) is part homage and part eulogy for Hansen.[7] It was written by her bandmates Gane and Sadier.[8]

In 2004, Hybird, an EP of some of Hansen's music, was released posthumously. It also featured her artwork, contained three tracks which had been released in limited editions before her death, and a final track which was finished by Stereolab's Andy Ramsay.


  1. ^ a b c Glaister, Dan (14 December 2002). "Obituary: Mary Hansen". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Beattie, Peter (29 February 2000). "Legislative Assembly – Motion of Condolence" (PDF). Hansard. Government of Queensland. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2003. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Member Biographical Details – Hansen, Mr Brendan Precival". Government of Queensland. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Mary Hansen – Credits". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Couture, François. "Schema – Schema". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Stereolab Singer Killed". BBC News. 11 December 2002. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Margerine Eclipse – Stereolab". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "'Feel and Triple' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 11 September 2012. 

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