Official Web Site
Maire Brennan Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Maire Brennan lyrics)
Maire Brennan Biography
With over 15 million units sold, Maire (Gaelic spelling, pronounced Moya) Brennan, frontwoman for the prolific, Grammy-winning Brennan family group, Clannad, released her second solo project with Word Records, Whisper To The Wild Water, on Oct. 19, 1999. From the land of Irish Christian faith, comes the follow-up to her 1998 Word Records debut, Perfect Time. This vibrant, new offering is rich in Celtic tradition while at the same time flowing with a deep faith and the depth of lush rhythms.
And as the element of water - and the album title - suggest, Brennan's voice flows naturally from chorus to verse, as rivers merge to oceans. An amazing instrument that gracefully cascades over songs in her first language, Gaelic, and in English, as well, and is banked (but not contained) by a convergence of well-tended electric guitars and Uileann pipes, drum loops and fiddles, and Brennan's own harp and keyboards. With minor adjustments to the same lively band, which accompanied her on Perfect Time, now together forming a tribute of valour and hope to the history from which this music springs.
Whether it's "To The Water," "Peacemaker," with its Gaelic spoken word opening performed by her five-year-old son, Paul, "i lathair De (In God's Presence)," a duet with her mother, Baba, or the title track, Whisper To The Wild Water is a visual soundscape.
The album evokes Brennan's hometown of Dore, County Donegal, where she, as the eldest of nine children, formed Clannad with two brothers and twin uncles. Imagine visiting her in this northwestern region, bordered by ocean and mountains. Walk through the hills with a crisp wind in your face and Brennan's quiet, potent songs, which she sings from her heart to yours. "The sound and melodies on this album relate to images. Images that are inspired by my surroundings and that I've jotted down throughout the years. On this album, I wasn't afraid to explore deeper territories of my faith. I just said,' I'm known for putting a hum to anything and I'm going to do it,"' she explains in a delightful lilt.
While Brennan is the primary songwriter, she also worked with her husband of eight-and-a-half years, photographer/songwriter Tim Jarvis -- along with longtime producer Denis Woods and Tim Martin, who also mixed the recent Corrs album.
"The way we work is that Tim puts ideas down and I play around with them. We work quite well together, actually. I always throw things at him to see what he thinks. I value his opinion tremendously and that helps a lot. I develop a lot of songs in the studio. I like experimenting and putting down at the same time."
In addition to Whisper To The Wild Water and Perfect Time, Brennan released Misty-Eyed Adventures, the title track written for her son, in 1995, and her solo debut, Maire, in 1992, which featured her newborn daughter on the cover and an original lullaby within.
"My brothers were the main writers in Clannad so with all the different influences and things I'd gone through, I wanted to put myself in a situation to see where I would come from in writing. What I discovered was that I love music - I love all kinds of music - so I contrasted Irish music and the Irish voice with a little bit of rhythms. I've done that on this album, too. I like doing it," Brennan laughs.
"When I went in to do this album," she continues, "I didn't really know what it was going to sound like. I knew there was going to be harmonies in it and I knew I was going to venture into more rhythms and try to take a step beyond what I did on Perfect Time and not be afraid of using a kit and a snare and things like that. I've also used the fiddle, accordion, flutes and pipes a lot more than on previous albums because I've had the time to do it."
This fearless experimentation translates to a free and eclectic range of sounds that swirl and blend with liquid continuity; symbolically incorporating her abundant Irish culture with a creatively modern approach.
Open to the possibilities that Whisper To The Wild Water was to become, Brennan observes, "Sometimes you come up with great ideas when you accidentally discover something and if you don't challenge yourself to these things, they never happen."
Among her many other credits is the recent success of her #1 UK pop hit, "Saltwater," performed with Chicane, and her contribution to the Back to Titanic soundtrack, "Come Josephine, in My Flying Machine," a song her father first performed with his show band. Clannad group recordings (beyond their 1999 Landmarks Grammy win) have anchored films such as "Patriot Games" and "The Last of the Mohicans," and even a Volkswagen Passat commercial.
"We took traditional songs when we started in 1970 and tried to create the emotion of the stories and make pictures using our voices and harmonies and our instrumentation. We always had that in mind," she explains. And that's something that's still very much with her, and something she gives to others as they listen to the whisper.