“Being in Moving Hearts, certainly in the first two years of its existence, was like being dragged along the street by a speeding bus”, says Donal Lunny.
They started playing together in Dublin’s Baggot Inn, in February 1981. That first line-up comprised Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Declan Sinnott, Eoghan O’Neill, Brian Calnan, Keith Donald and Davy Spillane. The band attracted huge attention for its blending of the varied musical influences of its members; as well as its commentary in the songs sung by Christy Moore on issues of concern in the areas of human rights and political skulduggery. The next three years saw various personnel changes and additions. Brian Calnan was first to depart and Matt Kelleghan took over the drum seat. Christy left and was replaced by Mick Hanley who in time was replaced by Flo McSweeny. Declan Sinnott departed and the band performed minus a guitar player for some time until Anto Drennan came on board in late 1983. Percussionist Noel Eccles joined in the spring of ‘83 as the band looked at a growing repertoire of instrumental pieces and Declan Masterson augmented the front line on a second set of uilleann pipes.
The Hearts ceased touring in the spring of 1984. It was not the music that failed them but the difficulty of maintaining a band of that size in the rough and tumble of the (1980’s) music industry. They regrouped in December 1984 to record ‘The Storm’, an album of new instrumental music, which for the very first time blended Irish traditional music and folk influences; while simultaneously embracing world music and rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities. This proved to be a highly acclaimed genre defining album.
Moving Hearts however did not perform or record for most of two decades and watched as the world caught up with their music.
When Moving Hearts reformed in 2007 after an absence of 20 years their series of sold out concerts in Dublin’s Vicar Street were described as “Breath-taking and Powerful”. One reviewer of the subsequent DVD said “This is one of the most spirited and mind blowing performances ever captured on film”.
When asked why MH had reformed one band member described it as “Unfinished business”, “when we last played it was as an instrumental band and we always felt we hadn’t finished exploring the possibilities of our unique line-up”. The following two years saw acclaimed concerts around the world from the Festival Hall in London to The Royce Hall in UCLA and the major Festivals and Concert Halls of Europe.
“Over the last 6 years there have been many offers made to MH to appear in concert but due to all the band members having major commitments to other projects it wasn’t possible. When KFF asked us it just was the right time. It’s always a pleasure to play this music and we are delighted to again get the chance.”
The bands line-up for this special appearance at Killarney Folk Festival will include a stellar cast of many of Ireland’s finest musicians Donal Lunny, Davy Spillane, Anto Drennan, Liam Bradley, Keith Donald, Eoghan O’Neill, Noel Eccles, Graham Henderson and a number of very special guests.