Moya Brennan excels as a live performer. Being in the music scene since the 70’s , she has polished her craft while continuing to grow as an artist . Heart Strings is an album that has been in the market since last year and it is only now that I got my hands on it. I read a lot of good reviews about it but I could not really say so until I hear it myself. Being the lead singer of Clannad and a big influence in the Irish Celtic music renaissance, no one can mention Irish music without having her name on the top list. That’s why she is labeled as the First Lady of Celtic music. Her voice is like a big hug.
Heart Strings is the product of her Netherlands and Germany tour from 2007 to 2008. What’s remarkable about her every live performance is that she is able to duplicate the same atmospheric power that her voice can do in the studio into the live show. The album opens with Tapestry which is a track taken from the album of the same title. Perfect Time is from her 1998 album released under Word label. The vocal overdubs is replaced by a male backing vocal. Mhorag’s Na Horo Gheallaidh, is from the early Clannad album Fuiam . Alisdair MacColla from Lore has a tamer and jazzed up arrangement . The ad lib part is prolonged by Uillean pipes, hand drums and fiddles. It is much more improvised by the acoustic guitars. So expect a longer version than the usual.
Molly Fair is done harp, voice flute and strings. Sailing Away from Two Horizons is toned down into acoustic jazz as opposed to the chillout trip hop flavour of the studio version. Gone are the Days which has become a personal favorite is as bitter-sweet as the first time I heard it on the album. The string section further added the warm touch…”nothing remains the same, why even the change must change”… this is the part that usually get to me. And yes that long instrumental part sounds as if it’s a song made in heaven’s veranda. Tunes Medley is a list of old Clannad tracks . Now these tunes were rearranged in a different way . Some of them done in a breakneck speed that sometimes make you question if Moya is indeed an acoustic metalhead insde. But of course such assumption is silly.
I Will Find You from Last of the Mohicans combines the original movie arrangement and Moya’s own approach. Vocally, this one proves that you don’t need studio reverb or wet editing to achieve magical effects. You just need the talent to do it. Merry Go Round and No One Talks both from Tapestry. The latter with great string arrangement.
In a Lifetime from Macalla is probably one track that has so many live experiences. This one could not live up to the original done with Bono. But then again , Brian Kennedy’s voice is just suited for the laid back arrangement necessary for this live track. Against the Wind from her first solo album. The vocal harmonies are flawless and the effect never fails to dazzle.Theme from Harry’s Game has the harp instead of the synthesized arrangement in the original hit…but still remarkable and thus closes this album.