Maurice Leyden

MauriceMaurice Leyden is a folk-song collector, singer, broadcaster and writer with a passion for Ulster folk-song. Originally from Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, his first book ‘Belfast, City of Song’ (Brandon) explores the traditional songs of the city which has been his home for many years. His research for the Belfast book revealed a wealth of children’s songs and street lore and Maurice’s second book ‘Boys and Girls Come out to Play’ (Appletree) presents a rich collection children’s singing games. Both books are complemented by recordings of selected songs.

Maurice has completed a third book on the folk-songs associated with the Ulster linen industry which is being prepared for publication.

Maurice is much in demand as a lecturer and authority on local folk-song and contributed to ‘The Companion to Irish Traditional Music’ Editor Fintan Vallely (Cork University Press) and ‘Irish People Irish Linen’ by Kathleen Curtis Wilson (Ohio University Press). In 2008 Maurice was invited to give a lecture on his collection of Linen songs at the Library of Congress in Washington.

A familiar voice on the airwaves, Maurice presented a weekly folk-music programme ‘Folkal Point’ for 14 years on Downtown Radio. He is a regular performer at folk concerts and festivals, collaborating with his wife Jane Cassidy to present shows combining local history and folk-song.

  • Mary Ann McCracken 1770-1866
  • Belfast Town
  • Love is Pleasin’, Love is Teasin’
  • Patrick and the Kingdom of Down
  • In Praise of Ulster
  • The Man From God Knows Where
  • 1913 Lockout
  • Songs of the Lagan
  • Songs of the Belfast Hills

In 1995 Maurice and Jane released a CD featuring songs and readings from their acclaimed show about the life and times of ‘Mary Ann McCracken’.

Drawing on his collection of children’s songs, Maurice delivers Traditional Singing Games workshops with Jane in primary schools and festival settings as well as giving traditional singing workshops for adults. Maurice is a voluntary board member of ‘Belfast Trad’ and gives classes in traditional singing at the Crescent Arts Centre. http://www.belfasttrad.com