Moving Hearts

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Moving Hearts
Moving Hearts, Irish folk group on stage at Leeds Folk Festival, 1983.jpg
Moving Hearts on stage at the Leeds Folk Festival, 1983
Background information
Origin Dublin, Ireland
Genres Celtic rock, Folk rock
Years active 1981 to 1985
Intermittently later
Associated acts Planxty
Dónal Lunny
Christy Moore
Davy Spillane
Members Dónal Lunny
Davy Spillane
Eoghan O'Neill
Keith Donald
Matt Kellaghan
Noel Eccles
Anto Drennan
Kevin Glackin
Graham Henderson
Past members Christy Moore
Declan Sinnott
Mick Hanly
Brian Calnan
Declan Masterson
Greg Boland
Flo McSweeney
Jimmy Smyth
James Delaney>

Moving Hearts is an Irish Celtic rock band formed in 1981. They followed in the footsteps of Horslips in combining Irish traditional music with rock and roll, and also added elements of jazz to their sound.


The group was formed in 1981 when Dónal Lunny (bouzouki) and Christy Moore (vocals and bodhrán), of Planxty, wanted to explore the possibilities of linking contemporary music to Irish traditional music. They initially intended to form a trio with guitarist Declan Sinnott,[1] but then expanded the group to include established Irish musicians Keith Donald (alto sax), Eoghan O'Neill (bass), and Brian Calnan (drums), and prodigious newcomer Davy Spillane (Uilleann pipes). During their first year together, Moving Hearts performed to packed audiences during their three-night-a-week residency at the Baggot Inn on Baggot Street in Dublin.

This laid the basis for a powerful and unique Irish sound, which was coupled on the band’s first two albums, Moving Hearts and The Dark End Of The Street, with songs with explicit political engagement, often concerned with the situation in Northern Ireland. The band was organized as a cooperative effort, with all profits and costs borne by the seven band members and three members of the road crew.

Calnan was replaced for the group’s second album by Matt Kelleghan, and, in 1982, Christy Moore left to pursue his solo career and was replaced by Mick Hanly.

Moving Hearts played many prestigious gigs including the Montreux Jazz Festival, The Bottom Line in New York and the Lorient Festival in Brittany, and the line-up with Hanly was recorded on the 1983 album Live Hearts. They also played on two tracks on Van Morrison's 1983 album A Sense of Wonder.

For a period after the departure of Mick Hanly, Flo McSweeney and Anto Drennan came in on vocals and lead guitar. The following year the group performed as an instrumental group, recording the acclaimed album The Storm. At this point the line-up consisted of Davy Spillane and Declan Masterson on uilleann pipes, Dónal Lunny on bouzouki, synthesiser & bodhrán, Keith Donald on sax, Noel Eccles on percussion, Matt Kelleghan on drums, Eoghan O'Neill on bass and Greg Boland on guitar.

The group ceased touring in 1984, appearing only at occasional festivals such as the Preseli Folk Festival[2]—now the Fishguard Folk Festival—in 1986, but in 1990 sold out Dublin's Point Theatre for a farewell concert, with Flo McSweeney on vocals.

In 2007 the band re-formed, announcing concerts in Dublin[3] and at the Hebridean Celtic Festival in Stornoway.[4] This more recent line-up is Dónal Lunny, Davy Spillane, Eoghan O'Neill, Keith Donald, Matt Kellaghan, Noel Eccles, Anthony Drennan, Kevin Glackin and Graham Henderson.


Compilation album

  • The Platinum Collection (2007)


External links[edit]