MOYA BETTER BLUES

Ms Brennan has come a long way from her father’s showband and her international breakthrough with Clannad.

Normally when writing an introduction to an artist, you can sum up their career in a paragraph or two.

That’s not the case though when your subject has played in front of 2.1m people at one sitting.

The latter happened to The Artist Formerly Known as Máire Philomena Ní Bhraonáin back in 2000, when she performed at World Youth Day in Rome, with Pope John Paul II as her support act. It was the largest crowd ever gathered in the Northern Hemisphere but, tellingly, it’s an achievement that doesn’t really stick out when you look over the girl from Gweedore’s bulging CV.

From her childhood years playing in her father Leo’s Slieve Foy cabaret band (mum Máire was a music teacher), the stage was set. Formed as a family band in 1970 (when Moya was just 18), Clannad would go on to record 17 albums and win a Grammy, a BAFTA and an Ivor Novello,  whilst in the early 1980s they were joined by younger sister Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, who would later find a degree of success as Enya.

By 1982, Clannad managed to perfect their blend of O’Riada and Eno to stunning effect with “Theme From Harry’s Game”. Reaching no.5 in the UK singles chart, this groundbreaking track cemented the band’s growing reputation as Celtic ambience chasers. Ten years later, Moya had gone out on her own with the first of a string of solo albums and soundtrack work. No doubt encouraged by Clannad’s 1986 titan-clash with Bono on In A Lifetime, Moya went on to collaborate with everyone from Shane MacGowan to Robert Plant, from Van Morrison to Michael McDonald, Chicane, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and, with 2017’s Canvas album, her two kids, Aisling and Paul.

Over the years, Moya has recorded 25 albums and sold 20 million records. The name change from Máire to its phonetic pronunciation of Moya came in 2002, the new moniker being made official in 2009.

And now, the lady is returning to Greystones, having played as part of Clannad in 1979, in Cabana’s, of all places.

Playing a SOLD OUT show at The Whale 32 years later – this Friday, December 3rd – we asked Moya where all this music first started for the Gweedore gal…

“Having a musical mum and dad gave me no option but to follow the yellow brick road,” she answers, “via Leo’s Tavern, to performing all over the world.”

“When they opened their music pub in 1968, and gave us all a stage, it made me realise that music was going to be my life…”

And the rest is hysteria…

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