"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 Dónal Lunny. Moving Hearts had started playing together in Dublin's Baggot Inn, in February 1981. That first line-up comprised Christy Moore, Dónal 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 Hanly who in time was replaced by Flo McSweeney. Declan Sinnott departed and the band performed minus a guitar player for sometime 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 Uileann 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 1980s music industry. They regrouped in December 1984 to record 'The Storm' an album of new instrumental music, which for the first time blended Irish trad — folk influences with an ethereal Celtic mysticism; 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. All of the members have continued their involvement in the music industry. Dónal has produced and played on hundreds of albums. He formed Coolfin ('97-'02) and now performs with various artists as Dónal Lunny and Friends. He was voted info the membership of Aosdana (an affiliation of creative artists in Ireland) for his "outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland".
Eoghan continued his career as an international session player and was also Musical Director for "Riverdance — The Show" in the USA.
Keith has done volumes to help fellow artists through his work for the Arts Council and the Irish Music Rights Organisation and still performs live and in the studio with the likes of Mojo and Van Morrison. As a composer, he was part of a BAFTA award winning team.
Davy Spillane has pursued a highly successful solo career and has nine solo albums to his name with Tara and Sony Music International. He received a Grammy award in 2000 and a nomination in 2001. His work as an international session player is nothing short of legendary with his music appearing on movies such as 'Gangs Of New York' and 'Michael Collins' and with artists such as Bryan Adams, Enya, Van Morrison and Rory Gallagher. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in the US in 2007.
Matt Kelleghan currently heads the Rock School in Ballyfermot, a position he has held since 1990. Matt also produced the Beat In The Street festival for many years. Noel Eccles continued as principal percussionist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, a post he held during his time with Moving Hearts. He recorded with artists such as U2, Van Morrison and Elvis Costello and later toured worldwide with Riverdance as percussionist and Musical Director.
Anto Drennan has worked extensively as a session guitarist with the likes of Clannad, Paul Brady and Chris Rea. He has toured and recorded with Genesis, Gabrielle, Will Young and The Corrs.
At the Vicar Street gigs, the band were joined by Graham Henderson and Kevin Glackin. Graham left Newcastle for London to join Fairground Attraction. He met Dónal Lunny in '96 and began gigging and recording with many Irish bands as a result. Kevin comes from a long line of Irish Traditional fiddle players. His album with Davy Spillane was voted Traditional album of the year by the readers of Irish Music Magazine.
"Unfinished business!" was the reply given by Noel Eccles when asked why Moving Hearts were reforming in February 2007, "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". Many people were happy to see The Hearts back together as an instrumental band and came in their thousands to Dublin's Vicar Street for four successive nights in February 2007. This disc is one of those nights …
Keith Donald — September 2007