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Maire Brennan

Also known as Máire Ní Bhraonáin and Moya Brennan


Country of origin:

Ireland

Type of music generally:

Celtic/New Age/MOR pop ethereal, world music

Status:

Most recent release, Affinity (with Cormac de Barra, 2013)

See also:

Maire Brennan's site

Maire Brennan is Clannad's lead singer, so see Clannad's site

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for Clannad

Comparisons:

Clannad, Enya

Covers/own material:

Original material, occasional covers

General comments:

Despite my preconceived notions, her solo albums are a departure from her work with Clannad. While the Gaelic/Irish influences are still in strong evidence, Maire branches out into other musical areas with a lot of percussion and the vocal arrangements involving herself and her 3 sisters. This variation is even more strong on Misty Eyed Adventures. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

As for Maire Brennan, I have her first two solo albums. Her first album, titled simply Maire (pronounced Moya) has some nice songs on it. I really liked it at first but found later that I didn't listen to it all that much. Not sure why. It sounds, of course, much like Clannad. Maire's sisters add some really breathtaking backing vocals on the album. But Misty Eyed Adventures, released last year, in my opinion is a much more solid effort. Many will disagree with me on this. I simply love it though. Very soothing sounds that help bring my blood pressure down. As for the themes being too thin and ethereal, I'm not sure how to respond to that. Ethereal...yes. Thin...perhaps. I don't listen to Maire and Clannad so much for the message, but more for the feeling. (kcd@cray.com)

I think with the release of Whisper to the Wild Waters this will be the first time that I don't buy something new by Clannad or Maire Brennan without listening to it. Maire's last album (Perfect Time) was a big disappointment. Her first album, Maire, was brilliant but then she fell into an Enya-like sleep. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

Recommended first album:

Maire

Recordings:


Maire

Release info:

1992—Atlantic (U.S.)—7 82421-2 (CD)

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Maire Brennan—vocals/harp/piano/keyboards

Guest artists:

Dee Brennan—vocals
Olive Brennan—vocals
Calum Malcolm—keyboards, synth bass
Donal Lunny—bodhran, bouzouki, electric bouzoki, mandolin, keyboards
Nigel Thomas—drums, percussion
Nigel Clarke—acoustic guitar
Alex Poots—flugel horn
Richie Buckley—soprano sax
Mick Taylor—tin whistle, Chinese flute

Produced by:

Calum Calcolm and Donal Lunny

Comments:

In her first solo venture (albeit still with numerous relatives in the backup band), Clannad regular Brennan seems to be branching out a bit from that band's staple Celtic-ethereal sound. Some cuts experiment with other kinds of ethnic sounds, others shift to easy listening, still others revert to the wearin' of the Gaelic :-). Under no circumstances could this album be considered one of the sine qua nons of life; but it's very pleasant listening nonetheless. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

Uneven, but I *love* her voice (vickie@enteract.com)

If I could take my favorites off Clannad's Banba, and Maire Brennan's Maire, I could make an album I truly love. As it is there are a few gems on each with quite a few duds. (jjhanson@att.net)

This is a stronger album than Misty-Eyed Adventures, in my opinion. Standout tracks include "Ce Leis," "Against the Wind," and "Land of Youth." Maire's solo work features more harp, and more female backing vocals (courtesy of the other Brennan sisters), than her work with Clannad. One track—"Oro" (a lullaby for her daughter Aisling)—sounds Enya-esque, but for the most part, Maire on this album has a sound all her own. (ishara@blarg.net)


Misty Eyed Adventures

Release info:

1995—WEA/Atlantic—7567 82701 4

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

If you like this kind of music, I highly recommend it. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

Group members:

Maire Brennan—vocals, harp, keyboards

Guest artists:

Dee Brennan—vocals
Olive Brennan—vocals
Bridin Brennan—vocals
Nigel Thomas—drum kit, hand drum, djembe, tongue drums, log drums, bells
Anthony Brennan—electric and acoustic guitars, dobro
Martin O'Connor—button accordion
Nico Bruce—double bass
Davy Spillane—Uileann pipes, low whistles
Donal Lunny—acoustic and electric bouzouki, bodhran, keyboards
Calum Malcolm—keyboards, synth bass
Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Produced by:

Calum Malcolm and Donal Lunny

Comments:

The album has a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi". I don't know the original version, but this one is brilliant. Maire really sings like Joni (only on this song, of course). The whole album is just wonderful, although it's very similar to her first solo album. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

hey, check out the acoustic e-bow guitar solo on Maire's cover of "Big Yellow Taxi"!! and goodness, what a fine voice she has...this album is better than i expected, and i expected a fair amount :) (bossert@suddensound.com)

It's pretty much more of what you'd expect from Ms. Brennan. Strangely enough, after a week or so's worth of listening, nothing really stands out yet, although on a whole, I find the album quite beautiful. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

I like Maire's first album a lot, but I didn't think the second was quite as good. There were a couple of tracks I really liked, but on the whole I didn't think there were any tracks quite as strong as, say, "Ce Leis" or "Against the Wind" from Maire. Just MHO. (ishara@blarg.net)

this album makes you want to dance, is good background, touches one spiritually, puts a song in your heart, etc. Good for a lot of moods. (fleur)

About the same quality as her first solo album Maire. Quite nice, but nothing you couldn't live without. (uli@zoodle.robin.de)


Perfect Time

Release info:

1998—Word/Epic EK—7464-69143-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended if you like her previous solo albums

Group members:

Maire Brennan—vocals, harp, keyboards

Guest artists:

David Downes—Uileann pipes, low whistles
Anthony Brennan—guitars
Gerry O'Connor—fiddle
Graham Murphy—keyboards and programming
Dee Brennan—bodhran, vocals on "Na Paisti"
Denis Woods—keyboards
Cor Seipeal Mhuire Doirebeaga (the choir of St. Mary's Church, Derrybeg, Donegal, lead by Baba Brennan) on "Song of David"

Produced by:

Produced by Dennis Woods, co-produced by Maire Brennan

Comments:

I would call it Perfect Slime—gasp. Being Enya's sister doesn't mean to make the same music, especially since she has released two brilliant solo albums before. A perfect sleeping pill. Well, still a good album but I expected more. It's rather boring compared to her first two solo albums—the weakest of her three solo albums, in my opinion. Sounds much like Enya, in my opinion. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

Perfect time is almost totally Gaelic/contemporary Christian. Very lovely music; but if you are like me and not able to shut out lyrics, then you will either definitely want it or not want it, according to your belief system. :-) There is almost nothing in the packaging to let you know this album is a departure from her previous ones...except that in very very tiny print on the back is "Word Records" and "Word Entertainment". (fleur)

Since I don't listen to lyrics much, the religious bent to this album doesn't affect me one way or the other...I just love listening to Maire's beautiful voice. (Riphug@aol.com)


Whisper to the Wild Water

Release info:

1999—Word Records—080688595128

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of Máire Brennan and/or Christian music

Group members:

Máire Brennan—vocals, harp, keyboards

Guest artists:

Anthony Drennan—acoustic & electric guitars
Máire Breathnach—fiddle & viola
Máirtín O'Connor—accordion
Keith Duffy—bass guitars
Joe Csibi—double bass
Denis Woods—keyboards
Dee Brennan—vocals, percussion, conducting
Sinéad Madden—vocals, fiddle
Ewan Cowley—vocals, guitar
David MacMullan—keyboards, piano
Tiarnan O'Duinnchinn—uillean pipes, low whistle
Tony Steele—bass guitar
Paul Byrne—percussion
Cor Séipeal Mhurie
Doire Beaga
Paul Jarvis—voice (6)
Baba Brennan—choirmaster

Produced by:

Denis Woods and Máire Brennan

Comments:

Similar in sound to late Clannad, Whisper to the Wild Water has a very peaceful and meditative feel without being sleepy. Máire sings in both English and Gaelic, often in the same song. My favorites are the upbeat, mostly Gaelic tracks, "Ageless Messengers" and "Rinne Tú (You Made)." The album prominently though gently displays Máire's Christian faith. Christians will find in the lyrics an uplifting worshipful experience, but the lyrics are general enough to appeal to people of all faiths and spiritualities. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Two Horizons

Release info:

2003—Decca Records—B0001915-12

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Maire (Moya) Brennan—vocals, harps, keyboards

Guest artists:

Ross Cullum—guitar, percussion, programming, keyboards, string arrangement
Sinead Madden—fiddle
Fionán deBarra—guitar, bouzouki
Feargal Murray—keyboards, string arrangement
Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn—Uilleann pipes, whistles
Paul Byrne—drums, percussion
Ewan Cowley—mandolin
Máire Breatnach—fiddle, viola
Éamonn deBarra—flute
Robbie McIntosh—guitars
Anthony Drennan—guitars
Keith Duffy—bass
Troy Donockley—whistles
Nigel Eaton—hurdy gurdy
Bob Love—fiddle
Brendan Monaghan—bodhrán, Lambeg drum
Sandy McLelland—drums (13)
Chris Hughes—rhythm programming (13)
Martin Carthy—guitar (3, 4)
Úna Ní Chanainn—cello
Brona Cahill—violin
Tommy Kane—viola
John Dunne—programming

Produced by:

Ross Cullum

Comments:

Similar to previous work, but I find this album more engaging. If you like her early work but found some of her later albums (Perfect Time, Whisper to the Wild Water) too sleepy, you might find Two Horizons a pleasant surprise. (JoAnn Whetsell)

An Irish Christmas

Release info:

2005 (2006 U.S.)—Sparrow Records—SPD 66784

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Maire (Moya) Brennan—vocals, harps, keyboards

Guest artists:

Paul Byrne—drums, bodhran, timpani, tubular bells, percussion
Fionán De Barra—guitars, bouzouki, keyboards, vocals
Cormac De Barra—harp, vocals
Eamonn Galldubh—Uilleann pipes, whistles, flute
Yoshinobi Izumi—electric bass
Sam Jackson—piano, keyboards
Sinead Madden—fiddle, vocals
Frances Mitchell—keyboards
Maire Breatnach—viola, fiddle
Anthony Drennan—electric and acoustic guitars, dobro
Úna Ní Chanainn—cello
Tim Jarvis—keyboards
Aisling and Paul Jarvis—vocals on "Oíche Chúin"

Produced by:

Moya Brennan; co-produced by Fionán De Barra

Comments:

An Irish Christmas quickly became one of my favorite holiday albums of all time. It's a lovely set of traditionals, beautifully arranged. There's not a lot of fuss to this album. There's no Santa either. No shopping, no snow. This collection celebrates Christmas the holy day. I think it can be enjoyed by non-Christians as the music itself is gorgeous and the carols are familiar. But I've no doubt that this album is intended to be part of a religious celebration of Christmas. For those who are looking for that kind of celebration, you'll be hard pressed to find an album with the warmth, purity, and beauty of this one. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Signature

Release info:

2006 (2007 U.S.)—Sparrow Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Maire (Moya) Brennan—vocals, harps, keyboards

Guest artists:

Paul Byrne—drums, bodhran, timpani, percussion, additional drum programming
Fionán De Barra—guitars, keyboards, vocals, string arrangements
Cormac De Barra—harp, vocals
Eamonn Galldubh—Uilleann pipes, whistles, flute
Yoshinobi Izumi—electric bass
Sam Jackson—piano, keyboards
Sinead Madden—fiddle, vocals
Frances Mitchell—keyboards
Maire Breatnach—viola, fiddle
Grainne Hope—cello
Tim Jarvis—keyboards
Robbie Harris—percussion
Steve Hogan—drum programming

Produced by:

Moya Brennan; co-produced by Fionán De Barra

Comments:

Far and away Maire's best and most engaging solo album to date. The sound is reminiscent of Clannad's early 90s albums, and the album includes a re-recording of "I Will Find You." The album is also overall a secular one. I think some songs are religious, but none are overtly so. It's really a beautiful album, and I think it will win her back some long-lost fans. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

Maire (Moya) Brennan's song "Rose of Bethlehem" appears on One Silent Night (2000) and Celtic Myst: The Christmas Collection (2003). She has released two albums in collaboration with Margaret Becker and Joanne Hogg: In Christ Alone: New Hymns of Prayer & Worship (2001) and New Irish Hymns (2006).

Maire has also recorded many collaborations with other artists. These songs include: "The Awakening" with Paul Brady on Primitive Dance (1987); "Put 'em Under Pressure" with Irish Football Squad (1990); "Blue" with An Emotional Fish on Bringing it all Back Home (1991); "Both Sides Now" with Paul Young on the Switch soundtrack (1991); "Come Into My Life" with Robert Plant on Fate of Nations (1993); "Dreamfields" with Runrig on Amazing Things (1993); "Almond Skin, Dream Sequence" with Sonny Condell on Someone to Dance With (1994); "The Man Who Wrote Danny Boy" with Joe Jackson on Night Music (1994); "As Tears Go By" on The Symphonic Music of the Rolling Stones (1994); "You're the One" with Shane McGowan on the Circle of Friends soundtrack (1995); "Divine Presence" with Iona on Journey into the Morn (1995); "Lumen" with Michael O'Suillebhean and Brian Kennedy (1995); "Ó Bhean a'Tí" with Donal Lunny on Common Ground: Voices Of Modern Irish Music (1996); "Amazing Grace" with Michael Crawford on On Eagle's Wings (1998); "Come Josephine in My Flying Machine" on Back to Titanic (1998); "The World 1999" (remix of "Oró") with Pulp Victim (1999); "Saltwater" with Chicane (1999); "Don't Give Up" with Michael McDonald on Streams (1999); "The Call of the Wild" with Alan Parsons Project on The Time Machine (1999); "Silent Night, Lullabies" with The Chieftains on Silent Night: A Christmas in Rome (1999); "Saylon Dola" with Russell Watson on The Voice (2000); "The Light on the Hill" from the St. Patrick The Irish Legend soundtrack (2000); "No Scenes of Stately Majesty" with Graham Kendrick on Millenium Chorus (2000) and The Greatest Story Ever Sung (2001); "Fairytale of New York" with Ronan Keating (2000); "Peace Has Broken Out" with Booley on One (2000); "Ceolfidh Mé" on Fields of Hope: Fighting against Famine (2000); "Overbluecity" with Skypark on Over Blue City (2000); "Band of Brothers Requiem" on the Band of Brothers soundtrack (2001); "Ave Maria" with Dominic Miller on Shapes (2003); "Tell Me Now (What You See)" with Hans Zimmer (2004) on the King Arthur soundtrack (2004); "Hidden" with Hazel O'Connor on Hidden Heart (2005); "Labyrinth" with Liam Lawton on Another World (2004); "I'll See You" with Delirious on The Mission Bell (2005); "Beautiful Dreamer" with Brian Kennedy on Brian Kennedy on Song 2 (2005); and "Miles and Miles" and "Falling" with Schiller on Tag und Nacht (2005).


Thanks to John Sandoval, sspan, and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Maire Brennan

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Entry last updated 2016-05-22 20:18:50.
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