Moya Brennan – Solo
|My first solo album. After years of teamwork here I was at last with my own blank canvas. Both daunting and exciting. I was 8 months pregnant when I finished in the studio so those last few days were touch and go. I’d come across Calum’s (my co-producer) name through his work with The Blue Nile. Great musicality and loads of dramatic space. I’d known Donal (the other co-producer) for years and regarded him as the godfather of contemporary Irish traditional music! Calum, Donal and I inspired each other to produce an album which took my background as a starting point but spread its wings to incorporate influences from a lot of the world music – African, Bulgarian, Asian and others- that I was listening to at the time. My sisters (we call ourselves The Jeannettes when we’re messing around) had the time of their lives and provided the album with the unique feel that only a Brennan party in full swing can achieve!
|Misty Eyed Adventures
|“Back to Scotland for my second album. Thrilled to be working with Calum and Donal again – and of course the lure of the North Berwick coast. One song, The Days of the Dancing, was inspired by my father, Leo, who often talks of those glorious times when he was touring with his show band. The village halls would be packed to the gills on a weekend night, men on one side of the room, ladies on the other, all decked out in their best and eyeing each other nervously waiting for someone to make the first move. Having recorded the lullaby, OrÃ³, for my baby girl on my first solo album the title track of this one, Misty Eyed Adventures, was written for my son, barely a year old and facing all the world had to throw at him.”
|Another big step for me. Having explored sounds and influences from around the world it was now time to delve into my faith and, particularly, how it figured in my home country. Many see Celtic spirituality as a mix of pagan and New Age traditions. I was keen to highlight the distinct Christian origins of our cultural heritage. Not just St. Patrick but the emphasis placed in Celtic Christianity on the wonders of creation and the simple beauty of what surrounds us in fuelling our passions. As the millennium came to a close I saw Ireland standing at a crossroads. Now, more than ever before, a healing heart was needed. I’d worked with Denis (my producer for both Perfect Time and Whisper to the Wild Water) with Clannad and also on the Irish Football squad’s World Cup anthem for Italia 90! Consequently, he understood the ethereals and we still managed to maintain a down-to-earthness which carried us through more than a few late nights.
|Whisper To The Wild Water
|After Perfect Time I talked to so many people about the uncanny spiritual quality that Irish music has and how it touches the soul in a way that no other music can quite do. Sometimes mournful yet full of hope, it captures sadness at a point where the only place to go is upwards. The spirit of days gone by which took the Irish abroad, to carry hope in the world, lives on.”
|“I wanted to do something here that I have never attempted before. Tell a story. I was very lucky to have been able to work with Ross who allowed the time and space to explore ideas fully without having to rush on to the next thing. The story of the harp grew from a number of directions. First, I wanted to reflect an Irish theme. Second, I found myself writing more and more in the studio with my harp (an absolute pleasure having relied on mostly keyboards before). And lastly, I became fascinated with the way harp music is a strong cultural tradition in many parts of the world and always has a peaceful, transcendental beauty about it. This has been the most ambitious but satisfying piece of work I have ever done.”
|An Irish Christmas
|An Irish Christmas’ charts a different course, reviewing the Christmas story through a blend of new tracks and leftfield favourites. From ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentleme’ to ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’, Moya reworks the classics with an intimacy that restores the personal and the passionate to what have become mumbled, half-remembered musical yarns. The listener is placed in the front row of the ultimate nativity opera.
According to Moya, the idea for the album first came to her some time ago: “I’ve been involved in number of other people’s Christmas projects in recent years,” explains Moya, “but I wanted to capture a truly Celtic Christmas feeling.”
It’s always important to bring the meaning of Christmas to the fore. It is the essence of what I believe in and the album offers both celebration and reflection on that familiar theme.
|Signature looks back over a life less ordinary and portrays Moya’s experiences through a collection of twelve superb tracks.
Musically sharp and finely tuned, the album cleverly treads a fine line between the contemporary and the traditional while Moya emerges as a skilled songwriter with a global ear.
In true Irish tradition, many of the songs have that bittersweet flavour – so this is no rose-tinted retrospective. Rather, Signature is a series of snapshots of Moya’s life – each chosen moment launches a lyrical reflection – which, when all woven together, produce a tapestry of contrasting colours and emotions.
|Heart Strings is Moya’s first ever live solo recording and features the prodigious talents of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and in Germany in October 2007 the thirteen 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”.
Drawing on Moya’s recent solo work with tracks like ‘Tapestry’ and ‘Sailing Away’ are tracks that showcase both her skill at crafting evocative moments and her prodigious band’s skilful musicianship – the live show recording underlines just why Moya is known as the First Lady of Celtic music.
Moya was thrilled to work with Julie Feeney who both scored the orchestral arrangements and conducted on the night.
|Voices & Harps
|Moya Brennan and virtuoso harpist Cormac De Barra both come from large musical families in Ireland and their mutual admiration for each other naturally developed into a stimulating musical relationship.
Voices & Harps is the culmination of their friendship and creative synergy over the past decade. They combine the simplicity, depth and beauty of the extraordinary skills which make them unique in their own field.
Voices and Harps unveils a new chapter in their partnership.
|Affinity is the second album from Moya and Cormac De Barra in their Voices & Harps collaboration – a partnership combining the simplicity, depth and beauty of the extraordinary skills which make them unique in their own field.
They are both well versed in Irish traditional music and language but the new compositions on Affinity also display broader musical influences.
Moya’s beguiling voice and Cormac’s mastery of the Irish harp combine beautifully and provide a unifying vehicle for this Voices & Harps compilation. Both of them boast Irish as their first language so the album includes a number of Gaeilge tunes. However, these manage to sit very comfortably alongside, for instance, their new version of Christopher Cross’s ’Sailing’ and their genre defying ‘Worlds Collide’.
|Canvas is Moya’s ninth solo album. This collection of original songs is steeped in her Celtic roots but, more than ever before, the album has a contemporary twist due in no small part to her co-writers /composers, daughter, Aisling and son, Paul, both in their early 20’s with strong ambient electronica and contemporary singer-songwriter influences. The album contains some songs in Moya’s native language, Gaeilge, while other songs celebrate, for instance, elemental/environmental themes or lament the child victims of needless war and conflict. Musically the record unveils a spectrum from poignant, fragile beauty through to dramatic, symphonic peaks. The album title comes from Moya’s rediscovery of her love for painting. She painted the cover and art featured throughout the CD package.
|Timeless is the third Voices & Harps collaboration from Moya and Cormac De Barra. It represents their most creative collaboration to date, with seven newly-written songs (five of them in the Irish language), two traditional tracks and a version of Songbird by Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, that’s been given the Voices & Harps treatment.
The recording began as a collaboration with Los Angeles-based producer & engineer, Lynne Earls on new music for a television project, and grew into an album of new songs – featuring such guest musicians as Martin Tourish on accordion, Clare Friel on fiddle and Éamonn De Barra on flutes, whistles and percussion. It was recorded between Lynne’s LA studio and Moya’s studio in Dublin.