Biography of Martin Black


Martin can be spotted regularly cycling around Dublin where he works with Dublin City Libraries. In the old days, you could call into his bike shop in Charlemont Street (the old family home) and have a cuppa while you had your bike repaired. For almost 30 years he has organized some music session or other in various pubs with other musical acquaintances.

Many people still refer back to the “craic” they had with Martin in O’Connells pub in Richmond Street, Slatterys in Ringsend, or The Barn Owl in James’s Street. At present he can be found at Devitts pub in Camden Street on Thursday nights with Peter Cranny. It is very much a singing session interspersed by some lively tunes from Dingle native, Mary Begley. Martin claims that the popularity of these sessions derives from his parents, Kevin and Patty Black. People were always made feel welcome in the family home when Martin and his brothers and sisters were growing up. There were constant “hoolies” at the Black family home during that time. Kevin would invite his friends to come back to the house after the pub on weekend evenings where an impromptu sing song would take place. Kevin became the Master of Ceremonies (MC) and would invite and expect everyone present to “Sing a song” or “Give a Recitation” This tradition has been carried on in both Shay’s sessions in California and Martin’s sessions in Dublin.

Martin still gets a chance to sing in far flung shores with either the boys as “the Black Brothers” or as the five siblings, collectively known as “The Black Family”. The traditions set by Kevin and Patty have also influenced the next generation of Blacks. Mary and Frances have children who are now in their twenties, and they are all very much involved in music. Martin’s children Sara, Emily, and twins Kevin and Michael all love to sing the songs of their uncles and aunts.

Martin has played Five-a-side soccer for the past 15 years, organized by his good friend and now infamous Tommy Halton from Dublin. Martin still believes he can still play a competent game of soccer in a defensive role but Tommy obviously does not concur as he only phones Martin when he is in a bind for players. Of course, it is a well known fact that Halton could never sing, dance, or play football himself.