Moya Brennan backstage at Glastonbury 2011
|Birth name||Máire Philomena Ní Bhraonáin|
|Also known as||Máire Brennan
'The Voice of Clannad'
'First Lady of Celtic Music'
4 August 1952 |
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
|Genres||Irish Traditional, Celtic, folk, new age|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, producer, harpist|
|Labels||Atlantic, BMG, Word, BEO, Universal|
|Associated acts||Clannad, T with the Maggies, Enya|
Moya Brennan, born Máire Ní Bhraonáin (Irish pronunciation: [mˠaːrʲə nʲiː vɾˠiːn̪ˠaːn]), also known as Máire Brennan (born 4 August 1952), is an Irish folk singer, songwriter, harpist, and philanthropist. She began performing professionally in 1970 when her family formed the band Clannad, and is now widely considered as the "First Lady of Celtic Music". Moya released her first solo album in 1992 called Máire, a successful venture, 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. She has recorded with many world-famous musicians and has provided music for several soundtracks, including Titanic, To End All Wars and King Arthur.
Máire Philomena Ní Bhraonáin (Irish pronunciation: [mˠaːrʲə nʲiː vɾˠiːn̪ˠaːn]) was born in Dublin after her parents eloped from County Donegal to marry in County Louth. Máire grew up as the eldest child of a very musical family in the remote parish of Gweedore (Gaoth Dobhair), a Gaeltacht area in which the Irish language and tradition continue to flourish, in Ireland's northernmost county, County Donegal. Her mother Máire (better known by her nickname, Baba)(née Ní Dhúgáin or Duggan in English) was a music teacher and her father Leo Brennan was a member of a cabaret band with whom she performed as a child. Moya is the eldest of nine children, her sisters are Deirdre, Eithne (better known as Enya), Olive, Brídín and her brothers are Ciarán, Pól, Leon and Bartley. She sang along with her siblings in the family pub, Leo's Tavern, in the village of Meenaleck, a short distance from the family home. She also took part in many pantomimes in Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair, the local theatre, usually dancing and singing. After leaving secondary school Brennan spent a few years at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin studying the harp, the piano and singing. She later taught music at Holy Cross College in Falcarragh, County Donegal.
Years with Clannad
It was during this time in 1970 that Brennan joined her two brothers Pól and Ciarán and their mother's twin brothers Noel and Pádraig Ó Dúgáin and eventually formed Clannad. They were identified and introduced to television by Tony MacMahon. After enjoying a decade of being among the world's foremost Irish musical groups, Clannad graduated to chart success in 1982 with the album Magical Ring. Brennan was at the forefront of the group's success and her voice suddenly became synonymous with celtic music and Irish music at the time. Brennan recorded 17 albums with Clannad and has won a Grammy, a BAFTA and an Ivor Novello award with the quintet. Her sister Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, who spent a while with Clannad, continues to pursue a very successful solo career under the name Enya.
Brennan released her first solo album in 1992, Máire, on Atlantic Records. Misty Eyed Adventures on BGM followed three years later. In 1998, Brennan signed with Word Records and released Perfect Time, and Whisper to the Wild Water a year later. The album was nominated in the Grammy Awards of 2001 for Best New Age Album. Brennan is managed by her husband Tim Jarvis and her brother Leon Ó Braonáin. Her music is usually classified as New Age or Celtic. She accepts the Celtic label, but has at times indicated a slight discomfort with being seen as "New Age" as much of her music is strongly Christian, with several of her songs centring on maintaining a relationship with Jesus Christ. Some of her songs show influences from her Roman Catholic upbringing or seem relational due to her own views concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In 2000, her autobiography, The Other Side of the Rainbow. was published and she also performed her song "Perfect Time" live at World Youth Day in Rome in front of crowds of pilgrims and Pope John Paul II. There were 2.1 million people present, making it the largest crowd ever gathered in the Northern Hemisphere. She considered it an honour as she believes in mutual respect among Christians. Moya also recorded on the event's album, One. She recorded a duet with Booley, now known as Duke Special. The song, titled "Peace Has Broken Out", is about the Troubles in Ireland.
In film, she was featured vocalist on King Arthur (2004), co-writing the title theme "Tell Me Now (What You See)" with Hans Zimmer and wrote additional music score for To End All Wars (2001). In 1995, she duetted with Shane MacGowan with "You're the One" for the movie Circle of Friends. Brennan has collaborated with many other musicians, including Chicane, Alan Parsons, Bono, Robert Plant, Van Morrison, Michael McDonald from the Doobie Brothers, Bruce Hornsby, Joe Elliott, The Chieftains, Paul Young, Paul Brady, Michael Crawford, Joe Jackson and Ronan Keating.
In total Brennan has recorded 25 albums, and has sold 20 million records. Since 2002, she has promoted herself as Moya Brennan — a spelling closely resembling the phonetic pronunciation of her name for those not familiar with the Irish variant of the spelling – and, in 2009, she legally changed her name by deed poll. Under this moniker she released an album entitled Two Horizons in 2003 under her new label, Universal. She has also collaborated with dance artist Chicane for performing the vocals on the single "Saltwater", which was also featured in the VisitScotland advertising campaign, as well as having been used by Fáilte Ireland to promote Ireland, and by Belfast city council, both in television adverts.
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2006 saw the release of her Christmas album, simply entitled 'An Irish Christmas', although it was originally planned to bear the title 'Love Came Down. A year later, Brennan released her album 'Signature', which she described as a collection of snapshots of (Brennan's) life. The album featured only one Irish song but featured choruses and backing vocals in her native language throughout.
While touring with the latter album, during 2007 and 2008, Moya recorded several collaborations and guest vocals on albums by Iona, Joanne Hogg and with Grand Canal on Ireland's Official Olympic Anthem, "Green to Gold. All three recordings were in aid of several charities.
Her 2008–2009 live album Heart Strings was recorded with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Julie Feeney. Moya has toured to promote the album extensively in the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and England.
In April 2010, Moya released a new studio album with harpist and live band member Cormac de Barra. My Match Is A Makin' was recorded for her Spring 2010 tour of the Netherlands, and is available only during her tours. The album is expected to become more widely available in 2010.
Moya Brennan announced that she was working on a hymns album, possibly for 2010 release and would release a new acoustic music album with Clannad in 2010 or 2011. Up to present, the new Clannad album is slated for a 2013 release in September.
Brennan was the featured headliner for the Atlanta Celtic Christmas concert, recorded live by Georgia Public Broadcasting on 18–19 December 2010. This annual festive event at Emory University's Schwartz Center spans music and dance from Irish, Scottish, and Appalachian traditions.
Moya Brennan appeared as well on the album "Excalibur III – The Origins" written by Alan Simon, a musician who comes from Brittany (France). She sang, indeed, on the following tracks : "The Origins Part I and II", "Incantations" and "Sacred Lands". Moreover, she went in July 2012 to Brocéliande, in Brittany, where she performed as solist before performing at the concert "Excalibur III – The Origins".
Brennan is scheduled to perform at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC on 17 March 2012.
Moya Brennan Band
Moya Brennan tours with a large band of musicians who have each recorded solo projects in the past or have recorded with their own bands. The band includes harpist and television presenter Cormac de Barra. Between August 2008 and February 2009, two new members joined Moya's band, the first changes since her Two Horizons Tour, including Irish singer Daithí Rua.
|Current Members||Former Members|
Brennan and Clannad are credited with the creation of contemporary Celtic music and are held in high esteem for their vast contribution to bringing new life to old Irish songs. They have been compared to Seán Ó Riada, in that they brought the Irish language into popular culture through their music. One critic said: "Clannad's music offers a terrific fusion between traditional and modern influences." It is Brennan's haunting voice that has left the most lasting legacy, it has become synonymic with Clannad's work and with Irish music in general. Her ethereal vocalisation is considered the archetypal sound of Ireland and strains of her style have been acquired in the soundtracks to Titanic and Riverdance. U2 singer Bono (who duetted with Brennan on the Clannad song "In a Lifetime") said of her voice: "I think Máire has one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced." Brennan is also famous for her harp playing, which she has featured on many Clannad records, with her album Two Horizons being based on the discovery of the harp.
In 2000, she wrote an autobiography called The Other Side of the Rainbow.
In it Brennan recalls her upbringing as the eldest of nine siblings in rural County Donegal, Ireland. Along with the highs of success in the music business she also recounts low periods where alcohol, drugs and an abortion made her re-evaluate her life. She emerged from dark years as a committed Christian with rekindled faith. She remarried in 1991 (having previously been married to a Dublin musician) and now lives in Dublin, Ireland with husband, photographer Tim Jarvis, and children, Aisling and Paul. Brennan and her family are practising members of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.
Brennan is Goodwill Ambassador for the international charity, Christian Blind Mission, and travels worldwide with the organisation, including recent trips to the Congo, Brazil and America. Moya has, since rekindling her faith, been a supporter of Teen Challenge, a charity operating in Ireland and the USA and in 2008 she performed a concert to raise funds to build a new drug rehabilitation centre for the children.
Moya Brennan is also a well-known philanthropist.
Christian Blind Mission
In 2003, Moya Brennan became Goodwill Ambassador to Christian Blind Mission Ireland (CBM). Brennan's first trip was to Congo-Kinshasa, with a group of five others. Due to violence, Moya and her team fled civil unrest and were evacuated to Kenya. She later promised to return to the Congo, which she did in 2005 to airlift three children from isolated jungle villages to Kinshasa.
In that same year, she travelled to Rwanda, where she kept a diary of her experiences. In 2005, she made an Irish-language documentary for TG4 during her visit to Congo, which was broadcast in 2007, and again in 2008 on both TG4 and RTÉ.
Moya also travelled to shanty-towns in Brazil and performed a fund-raising event in the country with Assiria Nascemento in 2007. From there Moya travelled to Belize for the opening of a school for abused children, run by the Liberty Foundation and backed by CMB. At the opening, Brennan brought together the Belizean Prime Minister Said Musa, Minister of Finance, Leader of the Opposition and UK Conservative Party member and businessman with extensive business interest in Belize, Michael Ashcroft, Baron Ashcroft.
The following year, Brennan travelled to Tanzania and has played a major role in bringing the missions of the charity to the forefront. She has also performed concerts worldwide with other Christian Blind Mission Goodwill Ambassadors from Europe.
Helping those with an Addiction
Brennan performs various concerts in aid of charities and groups that work to rehabilitate those affected by drug addiction and alcohol dependency. She also practices religion with her family in Dún Laoghaire, at a church which also reaches out to young people affected by drug and alcohol misuse.
With family band Clannad, Brennan has recorded numerous songs about the needed protection of the landscapes in Ireland and the devastation of pollution around the world. The first song about the matter was recorded for their début album and was called An Pháirc. Throughout Moya's solo career, she has recorded various songs on the issue including Big Yellow Taxi.
In July 2005, Brennan took part in a protest alongside poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh and locals of County Donegal to protest against the installation of electric cables across various areas of the county due to the harm it could cause to both people and the landscape.
Other appointments and music
In 1986, Brennan performed alongside Bono, Bob Geldof and Chris de Burgh for Self Aid. She also performed with Clannad at the concert. Moya and Clannad have long been supporters of Amnesty International and contributed their single Rí na Cruinne to the organisation. Brennan has also attended various benefits in both Ireland and England, most notably alongside Van Morrison in 1996.
Moya has recorded dozens charitable singles and on many more albums with various artists, including Raphael's Journey by Joanne Hogg in 2008, Songs for Luca and Songs for Luca 2 by Iona and the official anthem for Ireland's 2008 Olympic bid, "Green to Gold". Moya also donated her b-side, Ceolfaidh Mé to the Field of Hope album, which also features Bono and The Corrs. In October 2008, Brennan was appointed director for Ireland's first Christian satellite radio station, UCB Ireland, which operates from Dublin. Moya also recorded a song under her birth name Máire Ní Bhraonáin on the 2009 Ceol Cheann Dubhrann album with Manus Lunny to raise funds for Áislann Rann na Feirste and Scoil Náisiúnta Rann na Feirste.
- 1992 – Máire
- 1994 – Misty Eyed Adventures
- 1998 – Perfect Time
- 1999 – Whisper to the Wild Water
- 2003 – Two Horizons
- 2005 – An Irish Christmas
- 2006 – Signature
- 2010 – My Match Is A Makin' (with Cormac de Barra)
- 2010 – T with the Maggies (with T with the Maggies)
- 2011 – Voices & Harps (with Cormac de Barra)
- 2013 – Affinity (with Cormac de Barra)
- 1992 – "Against the Wind"
- 1992 – "Jealous Heart"
- 1993 – "Big Yellow Taxi"
- 1995 – "You're the One" (with Shane MacGowan)
- 1998 – "Heal This Land"
- 1998 – "The Big Rock"
- 1999 – "Saltwater" (with Chicane)
- 2000 – "Follow the Word"
- 2003 – "Show Me"
- 2003 – "Tara"
- 2003 – "Saltwater" (with Chicane – re-issue)
- 2005 – "I'll See You Again/Hidden" (with Hazel O'Connor)
- 2006 – "No One Talks"
- 2007 – "Merry-Go-Round"
- 2007 – "Holiday Trio"
- 2008 – "Green to Gold" (with Grand Canal)
- 2005 – A Future for the Michel (with Schiller)
- 2008 – Sanctuary (Various artists)
- 2009 – Ceol Cheann Dubhrann (Various artists)
Compilations and Collaborations
- 1987 The Awakening – with Paul Brady (from Primitive Dance)
- 1990 Put 'em Under Pressure Single – Put 'em Under Pressure (single)
- 1991 Bring It All Back Home – with An Emotional Fish (from Blue)
- 1993 Come into My Life – with Robert Plant (from Fate of Nations)
- 1993 Dream Fields – with Runrig (from Amazing Things)
- 1994 Almond Skin – with Sonny Condell (from Someone To Dance With)
- 1994 Dream Sequence – with Sonny Condell (from Someone To Dance With)
- 1994 The Man Who Wrote Danny Boy – with Joe Jackson (from Night Music)
- 1994 As Tears Go By – with London Symphony Orchestra (from Symphonic Music of the Rolling Stones)
- 1995 You're The One – with Shane MacGowan (from Circle of Friends soundtrack)
- 1995 Luman Michael O'Suilleabhain from Between Worlds (Moya & Brian Kennedy sing on Luman)
- 1996 Ó Bhean a' Tí – with Dónal Lunny, Brídín Brennan & Deirdre Brennan (from Common Ground: The Voices Of Modern Irish Music)
- 1996 Everything Changes (and various tracks) – with Iona (from Journey into the Morn)
- 1998 Amazing Grace – with Michael Crawford (from On Egales Wings)
- 1998 Come Josephine in My Flying Machine (from Back to Titanic soundtrack)
- 1999 Saltwater – with Chicane
- 1999 Don't Give Up – with Michael McDonald (from Streams & Whisper to the Wild Water)
- 1999 The Call of the Wild – with Alan Parsons (from The Time Machine)
- 1999 Lullabies (on Silent Night) – with The Chieftains & Paola Cecchi (from Silent Night: A Christmas In Rome)
- 2000 Saylon Dola – with Russell Watson (from The Voice)
- 2000 No Scenes of Stately Majesty (from The Greatest Story Ever Sung)
- 2000 Fairytale of New York – with Ronan Keating (from The Way You Make Me Feel)
- 2000 Peace Has Broken Out – with Booley (from One)
- 2000 Ceolfaidh Mé (from Fields of Hope: Fight Against Famine)
- 2000 The Light On The Hill (from St. Patrick: The Irish Legend soundtrack)
- 2000 Over Blue City – with Skypark (from Over Blue City)
- 2000 Rose of Bethlehem (from One Silent Night)
- 2001 New Irish Hymns album – with Margaret Becker & Joanne Hogg
- 2001 O Jesus Friend Unfailing (from The Sound of Grace: Focusfest 2001)
- 2001 To End All Wars soundtrack
- 2001 Band of Brothers Requiem – with Michael Kamen (from Band of Brothers soundtrack)
- 2003 Ave Maria – with Dominic Miller (from Shapes)
- 2003 Codail A Linbh (Sleep O Child) – with Phil Coulter (from An Irish Holiday)
- 2004 Tell Me Now (What You See), All of Them & Woad to Ruin tracks – with Hans Zimmer (from King Arthur)
- 2004 Labyrinth Prelude, Labyrinth – with Liam Lawton (from Another World)
- 2005 Hidden – with Hazel O'Connor (from Hidden Heart)
- 2005 Beautiful Dreamer – with Brian Kennedy (from On Song 2: Red Sails in the Sunset)
- 2005 Miles And Miles, Falling – with Schiller (from Day and Night (Tag Und Nacht))
- 2005 Away, The Rubicon – with The Duggans (from Rubicon)
- 2005 I'll See You – with Delirious? (from The Mission Bell)
- 2005 Kiss The Book, Like the Baseless Fabric & Set Me Free (from the Book of Watermarks video game)
- 2008 The Two of Us: The Duet Album (Christie Hennessy)-I Will Never Love Again (Duet With Christie Hennessy)
- 2008 The Worship Lounge-Various Artists-You Are Beautiful
- 2008 Rafael's Journey-Joanne Hogg (Moya sings back up on a couple tracks on this album)
- 2008 Green To Gold Single Green To Gold (with Grand Canal)
- 2008 Sanctuary-Various Artists-(Moya Performs on many of the tracks)
- 2008 Down by the Sea-Ashley Davis-This I Do (background vocals)
- 2009 Ceol Cheann Dubhrann-Various Artists-Ceol Cheann Dubhrann
- 2009 Love Will Bring You Home-Sharon Kips Welcome Home (duet with Sharon Kips)
- 2009 Honey Promises Sinead Madden (Moya sings back up on "Shadows" & "Take Me")
- 2010 Welcome Home: The Music Of Ireland-Various Artists-(Moya performs on several tracks and hosts the DVD special)
- 2010 San Patricio-Various Artists-Lullaby For The Dead
- 2010 Nowhere to Now Here (from the Nowhere to Now Here Soundtrack)
- 2010 Welcome To America: The Music of Ireland (Moya sings "Down By The Sally Gardens with Ronan Tynan)
- 2010 Re-Joyce The Hazel O'Connor Collective (Moya sings a brief along with a number of other artists)
- 2011 "Morning Star" with Producer DJ Roger Shah
- 2011 "The Dream" with Secret Garden (from "Winter Poem")
- 2011 "An t-Eibhlín Marie" on the charity album "Le Cuidiú Dé" – Moya also sings backing vocals for the title track called "Le Cuidiú Dé".
- 2012 Celtic Skies Various Artists (Down by the Sally Gardens)
- 2012 "Excalibur III – The Origins" from Alan Simon – Moya sings on "The Origins Part I & II", on "Incantations" and on "Sacred Lands"
- 2012 A Mother's Prayer-Keith & Kristyn Getty's album Hymns for the Christian Life
- 2012 Celtic Wings-Pat O'May (Moya sings background on the song "Homeland").
- 2008 – Moments in a Lifetime, Noel Duggan
Detailing Clannad's journey as a band
- 2001 – The Other Side of the Rainbow, Máire Brennan with Angela Little
Later subtitled: The Autobiography of the Voice of Clannad
- 2000 – Ireland: Landscapes of God's Peace, Máire Brennan
sometimes called God of Peace
- 1991 – A Woman's Voice
Eddie Rowley in conversation with Máire Brennan
- 1989 – Past Present
Sheet music book for 'Past Present'
- UCB Ireland AM/FM LICENCE APPLICATION 2006. (PDF) .
- TicketMaster listing[dead link]
- "Moya Brennan Releases EMI Signature CMG Sparrow Celtic Music | Christian Music". Christianmusicplanet.com. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- Coyle, Colin (17 May 2009). "Surge in deed poll name changes". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 5 May 2010.
- Murray, Fiona (2 May 2004). "UK | Northern Ireland | Beautiful night for Clannad star". BBC News. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "Signature Tunes – Moya Brennan". Crossrhythms.co.uk. 27 July 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- CLANN you believe it? We nearly quit because we were slated by Irish musician; MOYA BRENNAN ON CLANNAD' EARLY DAYS.(News). Docstoc.com. Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- The Clannad Newsblog: Emmy Award For "Music Of Ireland". Clannad.nl (1 May 2011). Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- Titanic- Soundtrack details. SoundtrackCollector.com. Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- Maire Brennan Discography at Discogs. Discogs.com. Retrieved on 4 May 2012.
- Moya Brennan i gCongo at YouTube, starts at 4:10
- "Quotes about Enya". Enya.sk. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- T. Saravanan (28 March 2013). "Striking the right chord". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "New Clannad Album". Clannad.org.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "Moya Brennan – Two Horizons Interview". Alphaomeganews.org. 9 February 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- Raushenbush, Paul B. (15 July 2010). "Beliefnet.com". Beliefnet.com. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- Moya Brennan : Books[dead link]
- "Whats on at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall". Wolvescivic.co.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- Various, The XX World Youth Day Compilation: Building One World – music review – word-on-the-web – Church Army[dead link]
- "clannad.org.uk". clannad.org.uk. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Raphael's Journey". Clannad.org.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "Green to Gold Cover". Clannad.org.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "Official Heart Strings Details announced!". Clannad.org.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- News Archives at MoyaBrennan.com
- Moya Brennan records new soundtrack – Northern Skyline
- Celtic Christian Spirit (Audio Interview)
- "New Clannad album". Clannad.org.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "GPB to Broadcast Emory's Popular Atlanta Celtic Christmas Concert". Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- "National Geographic Society".
- Moya Brennan. "The Band". MoyaBrennan.com. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "New Moya Brennan band member!". Clannad.org.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "Moya's new band member". Clannad.org.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- [Calgary Irish Cultural Society http://www.calgaryics.org/MoyaBrennan2.htm]
- Outside it's Donegal HotPress.com
- January 31st Mooney. RTÉ Radio
- Moya Brennan visits South America as goodwill ambassador. Inspire Magazine.
- Moya Sings for Drug Addiction Centre > Northern Skyline. Clannad.org.uk.
- RTÉ journeys to the Congo with Moya Brennan. Bannonandbannon.com.
- Christian Today. Christian Today (6 October 2006).
- Moya Brennan CBM.ie
- Tour Date Archive Brennan family
- Donegal County.com Newsletter July 2005
- Moya Brennan directs new Christian radio station. Clannad.org.uk.
- Moya Brennan on the songs of Rann na Feirste. Clannad.org.uk.
- "Winter Poem". Valley Entertainment-Hearts of Space Records. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- Official website
- Moya Brennan discography at MusicBrainz
- as Maire Brennan at the Internet Movie Database