Maggie Boyle

Biography by

b. Margaret Boyle, 24 December 1956, Battersea, London, England, d. 6 November 2014. Boyle came from a traditional Irish background, and was brought up in the London Irish community. She was taught to…
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Artist Biography by

b. Margaret Boyle, 24 December 1956, Battersea, London, England, d. 6 November 2014. Boyle came from a traditional Irish background, and was brought up in the London Irish community. She was taught to play and sing by her father, Paddy Boyle (b. Co. Donegal, Ireland), and helped by Oliver Mulligan, a singer from Co. Monaghan. Boyle first performed in public at the age of 11, singing and playing in Irish clubs and at concerts. She gave a number of performances, and played with her brothers Paul (fiddle) and Kevin (banjo, guitar) as the ‘Boyle Family’. Boyle started working professionally in 1984 as on-stage singer/musician for a folk ballet, Sgt. Early’s Dream, choreographed by the Ballet Rambert. Her husband, Steve Tilston, also played in the production, and once the ballet ceased touring, around 1986, Boyle and Tilston started working in folk clubs. Reaching Out, on Run River Records, was released a year later, and included a version of Robin Williamson’s ‘October Song’ and a combination of traditional and contemporary material. Brothers Kevin and Paul both featured on the recording, as did Bert Jansch. The album was well received by the folk media. At about the same time, she and Tilston were approached by John Renbourn to form the group Ship Of Fools with Tony Roberts (flute, Northumbrian pipes, clarinet, recorder, saxophone). The group toured the USA, Italy and England, and released Ship Of Fools. Boyle performed and arranged the music for another ballet, ‘In The Eye Of The Storm’, for the Gothenburg Ballet. This was based on a novel by Jennifer Johnston, Fool’s Sanctuary. The ballet, choreographed by Eileen Jones, was premiered in Gothenburg in 1990. Boyle also performed the earlier work ‘Sgt. Early’s Dream’ with the Chieftains in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, in May 1991. Along with Lynda Hardcastle (vocals, recorder; ex-Mountain Ash Band) and Helen Hockenhull (vocals, keyboards, lap organ), Boyle formed the Grace Notes, who, covering contemporary and traditional themes, released their first album in 1993. She continued to tour and record with Tilston, releasing All Under The Sun in 1996. Maggie Boyle died of cancer on 6 November 2014 at the age of 57.