Glossary entry for
Moving Hearts were the Irish band that backed Van on some tracks on the
Sense of Wonder album. They
were formed about 1980 and were a collection of seven musicians from
all different facets of the Irish music industry.
Christy Moore - well known Irish balladeer. Now probably the most popular
artist in Ireland.
Donal Lunny - Irish producer/musician who was, before this, a member of the
famous trad group "Planxty" (with Christy Moore) and he has become famous
since through his production. e.g. Sult
Declan Sinnott - Top guitarist - for many years since an arranger/musician/
producer for Mary Black, Sinead Lohan, etc.
Keith Donald - saxophonist in a jazz tradition
Eoghan O'Neill - bass player - since tours, inter alia, with Chris Rea
Davy Spillane - then very young pipe player - since has become a very
successful solo artist
Brian Calnan - drummer - positively in a rock vein.
They were unusual at the time in three different respects:
- They were probably only the second band (after Horslips) that fused
traditional and rock music - additionaly, they added jazz to their sources
- They were run on the basis of a co-operative with all expenses and
profits shared equally between the seven musicians and their three road
- They were very overtly political in that they were attempting to address as
many different political issues in their music as they could. e.g. Jim Page's
"Landlord" (the poor postition of tenants in Irish law at the time); Jim Page's
"Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Russian Roulette" (anti-nuclear); Mick Hanly's "On the
Blanket" (the plight of Republican prisoners and hunger strikers in Northern
Ireland); Barry Moore's "Remember the Brave Ones" (plight of those involved in
war); Mick Hanly's "Open Those Gates" (about an Irish prisoner, Nicky Kelly, who
was allegedly falsely imprisoned here)
They also recorded some very good instrumentals which fused their musical
influences, and perhaps it was here that they were at their best. Again,
they gave the instrumentals names which were often political e.g.
"McBrides" dedicated to Irish peace-campaigner Sean McBride.
The original line-up lasted for only about two years with Calnan being
sacked over the usual "musical differences" and Moore leaving, after the
second album, because, rumour at the time had it, that his throat was not
able to withstand the demands of the often rather harsh vocals. Rumours of
financial and political difficulties also were frequent.
Moore was replaced by Mick Hanly on vocals and Calnan was replaced by Matt
Kellighan from the road-crew on drums. The band continued like this for
another year or so until Hanly was replaced by a female vocalist called Flo
McSweeney. This would have brought the band up until the mid-80s. After
that they came together periodically with further traditional musicians
with the the aim of reducing the bank overdraft which remained after the
co-operative project failed.
It would be the latter variant on Moving Hearts that would have backed Van
on the Sense of Wonder album in 1984. They had moved away from the
ballad to become mainly instrumentalists by this time.
If you want to further explore the Hearts there are two albums that I would
- Moving Hearts - eponymous debut album - good mix of ballads/instrumentals
- The Storm - last album - consists of great trad. instrumentals.
Contributed by Denis Healy
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