Over The Moon

By Craig Manning
From Wirral Globe Newspaper


ONE of Ireland's sweetest voices is set to echo around Pacific Road Arts Centre next month, when France Black makes her debut at the Birkenhead venue. Irish folk singer France first appeared on the music scene in the early 1990s, since when she has enjoyed an enduring popularity that is as much attributable to her enchanting personality as to her beautiful voice. She has played on Merseyside before, but this is her first time at Pacific Road and it is something she is looking forward to with expectant excitement. "My shows are always a good craic and people seem to enjoy themselves," she told me. "There will be some old stuff and songs from the new album thrown in. Sometimes, I let members of the audience join me on stage to sing a song."

Her first album, 'Talk to Me', spent 10 weeks at the top of the charts in Ireland. Her seventh solo album, 'How High The Moon', is something Frances is justifiably proud of. She was involved in every aspect of its production and said: "This album is really special to me and all of the songs on it are very personal to me. My other albums are made up of 50- 70per cent of other material, but this album is all me and it's very close to my heart."

Frances began singing at 17 with her older musical siblings, Shay, Michael, Mary and Martin, known collectively as the Black Family. Mary is, of course, a hugely successful singer herself.

"I've always been in Mary's shadow," said Frances. "And sometimes when I'm on tour, people will ask me to sing one of her songs, but I don't really know the words to any, so I can't.

"Mary is fantastic. She's the kind of sister that d most people would love to have and has been a great strength to me down the years. But I do try and keep my own identity because we are very different."

As well as Birkenhead, Frances is also playing in the Caribbean, Ireland and The Netherlands. She is also in talks to appear in a play. Frances is at Pacific Road Arts Centre, Woodside, on Thursday, February 10. The concert starts at 8pm and tickets, £13/£11, are available from the box office on 647-0752 or, alternatively, online at www.pacificroad.co.uk