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Genres You Will Love
World: Celtic Moods: Solo Female Artist Moods: Featuring Guitar Folk: Celtic Folk Folk: Folk-Rock

By Location
United States - Washington

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Mary Tulin

Mary Tulin has performed and recorded Celtic music since late last century. A California native and veteran perfomer with many CDs and festival appearances to her credit, Mary is known for her powerful guitar and bouzouki accompaniments to traditional Celtic music. Now a resident of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, Mary performs solo, adding soulful vocals to her beautiful guitar work.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary was a young fan of the San Francisco sound of the 1960s and the West Coast folk-rock that followed. While a teenager, Mary talked and then played her way into an opening spot for Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia at the Keystone Clubs in Berkeley (where she was an undergraduate at UC) and Palo Alto. Later while in graduate school in Boston, she became fond of Irish traditional music, especially noting the skilful guitar and bouzouki backing in bands like Altan and Dervish. Marriage and a move west landed her in a nascent, unexpected Celtic scene in Bakersfield, California, where she met fellow enthusiasts studying and performing Irish traditional music.

From 2001 to early 2010, Mary toured and recorded with acoustic celtic trio Banshee in the Kitchen, which she co-founded with multi-instrumentalists Brenda Hunter and Jill Egland. The trio progressed from playing coffee shops in Bakersfield to performing around the United States and Japan in community concerts and music festivals, recording five CDs along the way. Mary also accompanied national hammered dulcimer champion Brenda Hunter at festivals across the U.S., also recording an EP in 2010, Skyride.

Mary moved with her husband to Sequim, Washington in 2010, settling into the local Irish session scene and teaching Irish backup guitar to local students and classes at Dusty Strings music shop in Seattle. Soon she returned to the stage with new musical acquaintances, and was back to work playing the music she loves best.

In her solo performances, Mary sings and plays traditional songs, drawing from a sound palette of folk-rock, jazz and new age to create unique arrangements that make very old songs new again. As an ensemble player, Mary was known for adding 'cool chords and chunky rhythms' to traditional tunes, using three different tunings on 6 & 12-string guitar and 10-string Irish bouzouki. She has carried that approach forward to her songcraft.

Mary's recent musical collaborations include the duo RowanTree with fiddler/guitarist Mike Saunders of the highly respected Irish trad band Crumac, and duo Fret Noir with fellow guitarist Gil Yslas. Fret Noir drew from both Celtic and English folk music, adding a jazz/rock feel to create a Sweet, Dark Blend of old and new. Fret Noir released a well-received CD, Bittersweet and inspired a 'sweet dark' coffee blend by Rainshadow Roasters in Sequim. Mary's current solo work conveys the same sweet dark spirit, though more often as uptempo Celtic folk rock.

Her new solo CD, till now, draws from her musical past and present. Along with newer repertoire, Mary revisits several songs from the Banshee days, others from Fret Noir and RowanTree, with signature touches from each. The album reflects her live shows, enhanced by layered harmonies and guitars. Multi-instrumentalist CJ Henderson of the Wicked Tinkers "tribal Celtic" band contributes outstanding bodhran tracks to the album. Till now is aptly named, honoring the past, playing to the present!