Following a hugely successful mini-tour in 2017, Moya returns to the UK for a more extensive fourteen date UK tour in March 2018 with her musicians to promote her latest CD ‘Canvas’. Moya Brennan, Voice of Clannad and First Lady of Celtic Music is touring internationally to showcase her new studio album Canvas. She comes to the UK in March 2018.

 

“…one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced" - Bono

When Bono stated recently, "I think she has one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced", he was heralding what many people know already about Moya. She sings like nothing you’ve ever heard before! So it makes sense that her live solo shows – with all the musicality and power of Clannad but with added, heart-warming intimacy – should be such a rich and moving experience. Her effortless vocals and timeless music pay homage not only to her vibrant traditional Irish heritage but also her grasp of contemporary forms. This is very much in evidence on her new album which was largely co-written with her daughter and son, Aisling (25) and Paul (23) who are both in her band along with Irish harp and violin virtuosos, Cormac De Barra and Lia Wright.

With Clannad Moya rose to prominence with a pioneering approach to traditional music which has garnered them 15 million record sales worldwide and a string of awards, including a Grammy in 1998. Their sound has since become the benchmark for the Celtic music genre. Sister Enya joined Clannad for a time before pursuing her own successful career. 

Moya’s solo career has continued that success with 9 albums to her credit and more in the pipeline. Her live show has developed into a visual (as well as sound) spectacle with rhythm, atmosphere and vibrant harmony. 

Besides her solo work Moya has been much in demand for a number of other projects and is both vociferous and active in her championing of Irish arts and culture abroad. Her career to date includes 25 albums, numerous film scores and she has sung with many great artists, including The Chieftains, Robert Plant, Paul Brady, Shane MacGowan and, of course, Bono. 

Her voice continues to be in demand in dance music and includes collaborations with Chicane (Saltwater), DJ Roger Shah and Schiller. 

 


“Ireland is changing rapidly but one thing that remains constant is our love of music and wanting the whole world to hear it. I love being part of that” - Moya Brennan 

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my burning questions. Firstly, how has your week been so far?

Hello Eibhlín. This week's been really good and helped by a lovely Valentine's Day with my hubby. 

 

Are you looking forward to your UK Tour ‘River of Songs’? 

This is the second part of the River of Songs tour and we are all very excited to be back in England. The response to the live show last May was fantastic. I hadn't toured the UK for quite a few years and didn't know how I would re-connect. It was better than I could have expected and I'm sure will be even better in March. 

 

You’ve performed in so many different incredible venues over the course of your career. Is there a stand out gig for you that you would say is a career highlight?

You're right, I've been very lucky to have performed in some amazing places such as the Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House and in front of 2.3 million people for Pope John Paul II in Rome! But when I'm asked this question my mind always goes back to Clannad's group competition performance at the Letterkenny (Donegal) Folk Festival in 1970. We won the competition and also the prize of an album recording session. It changed our lives.

 

Do you prefer performing in more intimate venues or to larger crowds?

I must admit that it's a real thrill to get up in front of many thousands of people. But you're such a long way away from them. What I love is to connect with my audience so the whole experience is shared. Intimate venues let you do this and my music is suited to it. 

Clannad influenced so many musical styles – when you first began performing did you ever expect to have such a huge impact and dedicated fanbase? 

No never! When we started we were just drawn to music we liked, the traditional music of our home in Donegal and the new pop music that we listened to on pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline. We loved the vocal harmonies of the Beach Boys and the Mamas & Papas for instance. And because a lot of our songs were in the Irish language people thought we were mad. Much of the impact over the years has come from combining different styles while being true to our language and local culture.

 

Your songs seemed to bring the Irish language to life – particularly for younger generations growing up learning Irish. Would you say this was the intention of your music?

You might find this strange but its only in recent years that the Irish language has become popular and acceptable at all levels. When we started very few people in Ireland wanted to hear Irish - it didn't fit into the forward thinking 70's attitudes. But it was always our intention to breath life into our language and take it around the world. I'm really glad that, even under pressure, we never gave up on it and even became the first group to perform in Irish on Top of the Pops!

What inspires your material? Can you tell me about the meaning behind your most recent album?

I sing from the heart and write from the heart and that includes things that I feel strongly about. This album is quite personal to me. I always think of my home of Donegal as a backdrop for my songs (as it has been my life!). The sea, mountains and strong elements give it an earthy beauty. What comes after that is often based on personal experiences, ups and downs and memories of loved ones. Quite a few songs on my latest album, Canvas, were a reflection on losing both my father, Leo, and my uncle, Padraig (co-founder of Clannad). 


What is your song-writing process like?

This latest album was a new experience because I co-wrote most of it with my daughter,  Aisling, and my son, Paul. Both of them are great musicians and have a lot of recording and engineering experience. I'd often start off with a simple melody which we would then develop into a full song together. I like to be on my own writing the lyrics but everything else is teamwork.

 

Your music exposed Irish heritage to the world. Why do you think it’s important to preserve the Irish language?

We're very proud of our language. Before Ireland became an independent nation the language was suppressed (and even banned at times) so we celebrate its survival! Its often said that a language is a reflection of a nation's way of thinking. This is very true of Irish and we like to stress it's importance.

 

Did you always want to become a musician, and did your father inspire you to pursue this career path?

Sometimes I wonder if I had any choice in the matter. My Dad had me up onstage with his showband a the age of eleven singing and dancing. He even took me over to Glasgow with the band St Patrick's Day. I grew up loving music so was eager to pursue it as a career.

 

Is the story true that Bono once almost crashed his car hearing your song Harry’s Game?

I think that's a bit exaggerated. He said he pulled the car up and stopped so he could hear it properly. I know it created a big impression on him and for many years U2 used Harry's Game as their 'walk-out' music at concerts.

 

Your book ‘The Other Side of the Rainbow’ revealed your life’s journey to your fans in a very moving way. Do you think expressing yourself creatively helps towards overcoming some of the more difficult periods in your life?

Although it was quite difficult writing my book it did make me look squarely at some of the not-so-great periods of my life. I wanted to share some of the things that happened to me - from the heart. What has been rewarding is the number of people who have quietly told me of similar experiences they've had and how much encouragement they feel knowing someone else has lived through them too.

 

I grew up listening to songs like Dúlamán. Do you enjoy performing songs from earlier on in your career? And do you have a favourite song or album to perform live? 

Yes we continue to sing some of the older songs and you'd be interested to know that Clannad will be releasing a double CD from a 1980 concert in Germany. So it's just after the Dúlamán album. I'm sure a lot of those songs will reappear again soon. I always say that my favourite album is the last one - this is very true of Canvas which I'm extremely pleased with. I will always love performing songs from Two Horizons (2003) as well and there will be a few of those in the forthcoming UK tour. 

 

Thank you very much once again, and good luck for your upcoming live shows in March. Looking forward to attending the show!

Look forward to meeting you Eibhlín!

 

Moya Brennan

20 March

The Glee Club – Birmingham

0871 472 0400

 

Band:

Moya Brennan – Vocals and Harp

Cormac De Barra – Harp, Bodhran and Vocals

Aisling Jarvis – Guitar, Bouzouki, Whistle and Vocals

Lia Wright – Violin and Vocals

Paul Jarvis – Keyboards, Percussion and Vocals

 

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