Cathedral Trail

Date:29 March 2004 at 8.00pm
: Vancouver East Cultural Centre

Reviewer: June Heywood






Mary behind small harp
Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is a national treasure who has played to thousands of people within the global village. She has enthralled kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers.

Mary is a modern day troubadour. Through her own compositions and poetry, she evokes the charm of a time long ago and makes it new. On Monday, this diminutive lady sat in the warm, yellow spot with her Irish harp. With her soft brogue and alto voice, she shared the story of her life.

The show began with the question, Who am I? And was answered with, "I am who I am and you are who you are. Each one a reflection of the other."

The Green, White, and Gold described an old, lonely immigrant sitting on a pier yearning for the shores of Ireland that he would never see again. Mary evoked the feeling of melancholy in other songs that included, Jeannie Johnson, Time, and Blind Mary.

In Two and a Half Pounds, Mary told us of being born prematurely, not being expected to live and therefore not receiving a name for some days after her birth. Always a sickly child, Mary shared that when she was seven, she wanted to die "and go to heaven". Many years later her cousin confided that she had died when she was seven but had been resuscitated.Mary said that she loved children. This came through in her song, Miniature People when she sang that, "Children are miniature people living in a grown up world…If we were to grow up like children, the world would be peaceful again". She also sang two songs about unwanted children.






Never Knowing Why is a reflective number written in the first person. In it, Mary muses on the children playing in the street born of lust not love. While Mary sang For the Love of a Child, she and the audience shed tears. She talked of a perfectly formed Asian child who had her legs broken in multiple places to get more money as a beggar. The little girl was rescued by philanthropist, Naomi Bronstein and brought to Canada for treatment. The child was adopted and eventually fell in love, married, and restored as a whole person.

Mary's theme throughout the evening was the abundance of God's redeeming love and grace. This sentiment was reflected in God's Dream for Me in which she acknowledged that God had a dream for her all she had to do was "reach for the stars, find the dream, and be the woman (she was meant to be)". In What Do you Want? Asked Jesus, Mary replied, "All I ask is forgiveness. Take the past away from me."

There were chuckles in her banter and songs, too. In, Priests, Mary showed her wit. She said that when the Irish priests came to their home she would be "hit on her head, clipped on her ear, and pinched on her bum". The guests "drank Dad's whiskey and ate them out of house and home too many times a year."

Mary entertained with more than twenty-five songs. With her down-home charm, she welcomed and thanked her "friends", the audience. She enchanted everyone with her warmth and grace. With her heavenly power, she has a great future. Take the opportunity to hear Mary Murphy sing. You will be moved. The experience may change your life.


2004, June Heywood