Mary O'Hara refers to her life as a series of unexpected phases, unanticipated events that impacted on her song. Her music can be catagorised according to these various phases.
Her early music consisted of Irish and Scottish Traditional Song much of it in Gaelic and Scots Gallic. This has always been the core of her work.
Her six recordings of this period (1952-1962) - all harp and voice - reflect an awakening interest in the traditional musical culture of the Celt.
At the pivot of her singing career, the premature death of her young husband, Richard Selig
, robbed life of all meaning for Mary O'Hara and she foreswore a successful career to join a community of Benedictine nuns at Stanbrook Abbey in England (1962-1974).
While a nun of Stanbrook, Mary added 'God-Songs' to her repertoire and,while still there, recorded the album RECITAL, released in 1983, nine years after she left.
When ill health eventually forced her to leave Stanbrook after 12½ years, she gradually expanded her repertoire to include some MOR and light classical material. Between leaving Stanbrook (1974) and her retirement from singing (1994) she added a further 13 albums to her earlier seven. Many compilations followed, the latest in 2007, 40 traditional songs on a double cd. Here you can see and hear Mary O'Hara singing An Maidrín Rua,
one of the earliest songs in her repertoire. Of the many Mary O'Hara compilations, this is the first supervised by Mary herself.
While at Stanbrook Abbey, Mary O'Hara added a category of what she refers to as 'God Songs' to her repertoire. While still at Stanbrook she recorded a collection of these songs, and they were later released as RECITAL (1983), ten years after they were recorded.
The subject matter is love, secular and divine. The album contains some of Richard Selig's (her dead husband's) poems set to music by Mary. Also included: Tagore, Dowland, Carter and others - Mary's own favourites at the time.