“Unfinished business,” was the reply given by Noel Eccles when asked why Moving Hearts were reforming. “When we last played in Ireland, the UK and at some European festivals in 1987, it was as an instrumental band and we always felt that we hadn’t finished exploring the possibilities of our unique line-up,” he said. Many people in Ireland were happy to see Moving Hearts back together as an instrumental band and duly filled Dublin’s Vicar Street for four successive nights in February 2007.
“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. “With my background in traditional music, it felt like the band changed up a few gears when the rhythm section came into the band. We came dangerously close to becoming a fully-fledged rock band, but having Davy and Keith battling on uileann pipes and soprano saxophone kept the goal posts on the move.”
Moving Hearts had started playing together in The Baggot Inn, Dublin in February 1981. That first line-up comprised Christy Moore, vocals, guitar, and bodhrán; Donal Lunny on bouzouki and synthesiser; Declan Sinnott on electric guitar; Eoghan O’Neill on bass; Brian Calnan on drums and percussion; Davy Spillane on pipes and low whistle; and Keith Donald on various saxophones. The band attracted huge attention for its blending of musical influences — folk, Irish traditional, rock, funk, and jazz — 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. In addition to songs about Ireland, Christy sang about the nuclear industry, thieving landlords, the US engineered coup in Chile that replaced the elected Allende with Pinochet and his cronies, and the dark side of organised religion.
After many changes of personnel — 19 people have played or sung in the band — the decision was made to concentrate on instrumental music and to follow on from The Storm, the influential album of six instrumentals that was recorded after the band ceased regular gigging in 1984. After reforming to tour in 1987, the band went their several ways for most of two decades and watched as the world caught up with their music. Unlike many bands that stop working together, all the core members of Moving Hearts went on to have successful careers as musicians and bring huge depth and range of experience to the band when it plays again.
Moving Hearts will play the Royal Theatre on Bank Holiday Sunday August 2. Tickets are on sale at €30 on www.ticketmaster.ie as well as from The Royal Box Office on 0818 300 000. For further information check The Royal website on www.theroyal.ie or www.ticketmaster.ie