Born in Co. Tyrone, Mary Mc Laughlin’s early musical influences included Latin Chant and Donegal sean-nós singing. She spent the first part of her adult life in London where she developed as a vocal teacher, songwriter, arranger, and recording artist. Working on the British Folk scene with singer-songwriter Anne Lister as Anonyma (with whom she still performs), she was exposed to the traditional music of England and Scotland, all of which helped shape her musically. A Billboard chart success with the American Record label Narada in 1995, brought her original songs and arrangements to the USA market and she moved to California in 1997. Subsequently working and touring with many leading Irish-Americana musicians, she established herself not only as a performer but also as a teacher of the Donegal style of traditional singing. Between 1999 and 2012 she published two Irish language songbooks and four albums, two of which are on major labels (BMG and EMI / Universal) and was the founder / arranger of the Californian Gaelic choir Cór Ainglí.
In 2009 -2010 she attended the Irish World Academy, graduating with a first class MA in Ritual Chant and Song.
During that year, Mary re-connected with her life-long fascination for mythology and in particular the portrayal of the Otherworld in Irish traditional song.
She is delighted to have been given the opportunity to do further research in this area, focusing on the presence and importance of the Otherworld in the songs of Ulster, under the supervision of Dr. Sandra Joyce. She is anticipating that her research will lead her back in time and across the bridge of early Christian and pre-Christian belief systems, as well as exploring the extent to which these belief systems exerted their influences on the song corpus of Ulster.