Brendan Graham (born 1945)) is world famous both as an Irish novelist and a music composer. Graham was born in County Tipperary. Although he is now an inhabitant of Mayo with his wife and five daughters.
Brendan Graham has published a best selling series of three novels, The Whitest Flower (London, Harper Collins, 1998), an Irish No. 2 best seller, The Element of Fire (Harper Collins, 2001) and The Brightest Day, The Darkest Night (Harper Collins, 2004). The Whitest Flower (1998) was a number 2 bestseller in Ireland, and was translated into German as Die Irische Nacht (Berlin, Rutten & Loening, 2000). Described as a documentary novel of the Great Famine, it is currently a text at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Element of Fire (2001) is a continuation of the Whitest Flower story. Widowed by Ireland's Great Famine, Ellen Rua O'Malley flees her native land for Boston and the New World: with her are her two surviving children, Patrick and Mary, and the 'silent girl' whom Ellen has found wandering among the hordes of the dispossessed. In 2004 Brendan published The Brightest Day, The Darkest Night. The story continues to track the life of Ellen Rua O'Malley. This novel was as vast in scope and powerful storytelling as its predecessors. Three women... Two armies... One enduring love. Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, it was a powerful, sweeping novel which explores the themes of forgiveness and longing, and the changing role of women, set free by war from the protection of their men.
Brendan Graham is one of Ireland's most famous lyricists and song writers. In an article about the song tradition of Ireland, legendary scribe Con Houlihan wrote…
‘Some of the best poetry being produced in this country today is in the form of song – Christy Moore and Brendan Graham and Jimmy McCarthy are touched by genius.’ Evening Herald, 26 Mar 08.
Whilst in a full page, feature article, the Irish Times described Graham as a ‘Musical Midas in the Mayo Silence.’ Irish Times, 20 Dec 07.
He wrote the lyrics for Rolf Løvland's "You Raise Me Up". Løvland was inspired to write the song after reading The Whitest Flower, Graham's first novel. "You Raise Me Up" was a huge international hit for Irish boyband Westlife. It has been covered by different artists almost 400 times. You Raise Me Up has been awarded ‘’Million-Air’’ status by the American Performing Rights Society BMI. To be included in this exclusive roster a song must have been broadcast over one million times on American radio. This definition equals at least 50,000 broadcast hours, or more than 5.7 years of continuous airplay. It is the most downloaded sheet music song of all time.
Graham also composed two of Ireland's winning entries in the Eurovision Song Contest: "Rock 'n' Roll Kids", which won in 1994, and "The Voice", the winner of the 1996 contest. He also wrote the 1976 Irish Eurovision entry, 'When', which was sung by Red Hurley, and the 1985 entry 'Wait until the weekend comes', performed by Maria Christian. He wrote several songs for Celtic Woman, including "O, America". Also, for a similar group, Celtic Thunder, Graham wrote songs including "My Land ", "Voices", and "Always There" (written especially for a CT member Emmet Cahill).
When the British composer,Paul Mealor, wrote a lullaby for Prince George, son of William and Katherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Graham was invited to write the lyrics. It is entitled "Sleep On". Graham has many critically acclaimed projects and collaborations.He has worked with a diverse range of artists including Josh Groban, Westlife, IL Divo; New York Metropolitan’s Young Ok Shin, Sissel, Celtic Woman, Secret Garden, Elaine Paige; Australia’s Kate Ceberano, Brian Kennedy, Eimear Quinn, Katie McMahon, Anuna, Daniel O’Donnell, Ronan Tynan, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, The Irish Tenors, Nashville’s Hal Ketchum, Tommy Cash and jazz vocalist & No.1 hit songwriter for Garth Brooks – Benita Hill; as well as acclaimed artistes within the Scottish and Irish traditions, such as Roisin Elsafty, Fionnuala Gill, Karen Matheson, Alyth McCormack, Sean Keane and Dervish.
Entries in the Eurovision Song Contest
- "When" by Red Hurley, Ireland, (Eurovision Song Contest 1976), 10th place
- "Wait Until the Weekend Comes" by Maria Christian, Ireland, (Eurovision Song Contest 1985), 6th place
- "Rock 'n' Roll Kids" by Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan, Ireland, (Eurovision Song Contest 1994), 1st place
- "The Voice" by Eimear Quinn, Ireland, (Eurovision Song Contest 1996), 1st place