It is with deep regret we announce that London-Irish singer Maggie Boyle lost her life to cancer on 6th November 2014, aged 57.
Brought up in a vibrant musical family in London during the 1960/70s, Maggie Boyle developed a love and appreciation for traditional music and community. As a youngster, Maggie performed with the local branch of Comhaltas, gaining All-Britain singing titles. In the 1980s she formed a duo with her then husband Steve Tilston, recording several highly acclaimed albums and later, three further solo albums. Over the years, Maggie collaborated with luminaries such as The Chieftains, Incantation, Fairport Convention and Bert Jansch and regularly performed in numerous line-ups, the most significant as a duo with Paul Downes and the all-female trio Grace Notes. Maggie also engaged in cultural works outside the folk scene including the Ballet Rambert’s performance piece Sergeant Early’s Dream and John Renbourn’s Ship of Fools. She also contributed to film soundtracks, notably Patriot Games and Legends of the Fall.
Throughout her musical career, Maggie was dedicated to supporting younger singers and developing the tradition. She was instrumental in establishing artist-run co-operatives Three’s Company and Skinnymalinks through which she helped develop new talent, including The Demon Barbers and The Witches of Elswick. Maggie organised concerts promoting young performers and taught regularly at Breton Hall and Newcastle University. Since 2012 Maggie pioneered a scheme to visit her musical heroes and record intimate exchanges with the support of BBC Radio Leeds. The Kitchen Songs Project gets to the heart of luminaries such as Ralph McTell, and demonstrates Maggie’s innate love, respect and passion for this music and her fellow musicians far beyond the bounds of ‘career’.
Revered for her ability to enchant a room with her ethereal voice, this captivating quality penetrated her very being; Maggie had a pure soul which brought joy and peace to others wherever she went. She was dedicated to her wider family and had a profound impact on many more. After touring the country constantly for the past three decades, Maggie is well known to many throughout the folk scene. Those who met her, even briefly, were greeted with an open warmth and generosity of spirit they haven’t forgotten. Her family are immeasurably grateful for the astounding love, care and generosity shown to Maggie over the past year by countless people in the folk community and beyond. Maggie leaves behind an exceptional presence; her absence is felt most keenly by her devoted partner, Bill, two children, Molly and Joe, and beloved granddaughter, Betty Sue.
There will be a Memorial Service at 12 noon and a celebration of Maggie’s life and times from 2pm on Monday 17th November, both at Victoria Hall, Keighley. All are welcome, please bring instruments and memories.
Maggie, accompanied by Paul Downes, sings Nick Burbridge’s ‘Old Man’s Retreat’. It seems an appropriate choice.