CELTIC MUSIC REVIEW
By CATHOLINE BUTLER
Live with the Royal Liverpool
When I saw Moya Brennans’ new CD Heart Strings, it took me back to when I was a student studying the Irish language and folklore in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) of Donegal.
Our professor arranged all our outings and one of them was a visit to Leo’s Tavern (Tabhairne Leo) in Gweedore, County Donegal, to hear owner Leo Brennan and his family play and sing mostly in the Irish language. Our professor wanted us to hear the songs in Irish.
To speak about Moya Brennan, you need to go back to where it all started at Leo’s Tavern when Moya and Enya were the lead singers with the group Clannad, they set the tone for the distinctive Clannad’s Celtic mysticism.
The ‘outerworldy’ and ‘ethereal’ Clannad sound comes from the ancient hills and glens that surround Gweedore, according to Moya Brennan.
Leo’s Tavern, the humble Donegal pub, was the starting place for Moya, Enya and the world famous group Clannad.
The tavern was always packed with people enjoying the traditional music sessions, and many times some well-known personalities such as Paul Brady and Bono were on hand to join in.
Clannad consists of the Brennan siblings – Moya, Ciarán, Pól and Enya – along with their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan. Lead singer Moya and her sister Enya have gone on to enjoy significant success as solo artists.
Clannad first made their mark in the folk and traditional scene in the 1970s in Ireland and mainland Europe. The band won a Grammy Award in 1999 for Best New Age Album and their record sales exceeded the 15 million mark.
Clannad were signed up to RCA Records when they were approached and asked if they would be interested in doing a song for Harry’s Game, a fictional drama on British television depicting the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland.
Ciaran, Pol and Moya got together and wrote the now-legendary song Theme from Harry’s Game. Entering the British charts at Number Five, it remains the only hit single in the UK ever to be sung entirely in Irish Gaelic.
Moya Brennan is now widely considered as the ‘first lady of Celtic Music’. She released her first solo album in 1992 called Maire (she has since become known as Moya).
Her solo career has remained successful to this day, many years after Clannad took a hiatus in 1996. She has been nominated for two Grammys and has won an Emmy Award. Moya has recorded with many world-famous musicians and provided music for several soundtracks, including Titanic, To End All Wars, and King Arthur.
Heart Strings, Moya’s solo recording features the prodigious talents of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. She also plays harp on the CD.
The 13 tracks include three classic songs from Moya’s days as the voice of Clannad, including Harry’s Game, I Will Find You, and In A Lifetime.
Some other tracks include: Sailing Away, Tapestry, Against The Wind, Mhorag’s Na Horo Gheallaidh to name a few.
If you enjoyed the music of Clannad, then you will enjoy Heart Strings and the evocative voice of Moya Brennan.