BY SEÁN P. FEENY
TOMORROW (Friday), January 17, one of Ireland’s most successful pop singers will pay a visit to the Clubeo singer’s club at Leo’s Tavern in Meenaleck for a special performance.
Renowned singer Brian Kennedy said that despite having a very busy few months ahead of him, everything fell into place when it came to making his second visit to Leo’s Tavern. He said: “January is a funny time of the year and I’ve been quite busy, but the dates were perfect so I was really delighted when I was able to tell Moya I’d be able to come and perform at Clubeo and do the workshop the next day.
“While I was growing up there was never anything like Clubeo, it’s incredible that despite being such a busy woman, Moya still finds time to come home to support her local music community by hosting this event every month, it’s such a generous gesture.” Brian said he can’t remember the first time he met Moya Brennan saying that she has always been a big presence in his life, especially musically.
“The first time I worked with Moya and Clannad was when they asked me to perform the song In A Lifetime with them, which I ended up singing on a couple of live recordings, including more recently at their 40th anniversary concert in Christchurch Cathedral (2011).
“I remember their tour manager Paddy ringing me and asking ‘Where are you, Brian?’. I told him that I was in London but coming back to Dublin that evening.
“He said, ‘You want to come and sing In A Lifetime with Clannad?’. Of course you don’t turn that down so as soon as I landed I jumped in the shower and drove to Christchurch Cathedral. I hadn’t even said hello to the guys, next thing I was on stage singing with them.”
Brian said even when he was still in national school Clannad’s music was a huge influence. “While I was in school on the Falls Road learning Irish, our teacher would maybe bring in music once a month and we’d learn a song.
I still vividly remember him bringing in a Clannad album and telling us they were from Donegal and hearing Thíos Cois na Trá Domh; fast forward a few decades and I’m singing with them all over Europe from the UK to Germany,” he said.
It’s nearly four years since Brian last visited Leo’s Tavern when he performed at Moya’s Save Our Scenery (SOS) Concerts in aid of the Alternatives To Pylons campaign.
“It’s amazing how times flies so quickly. It’s twenty years this year since I did the live album A Night In San Francisco, with Van (Morrison) and now I’ve just released my 13th album, A Love Letter To Joni,” said Brian.
The Belfast native who in recent years also successfully joined the ranks of fiction writers, releasing two books, said you just have to ‘go with the flow’.
“You can’t really plan too much; I’m just back from a six-week tour in Australia and now I am busy promoting the new album and I’m privileged to have so many opportunities.”
Now on his thirteenth solo album Brian said he still loves everything about his work. “I love the magic of writing, collaborating with other artists or singing other writer’s songs.
“This year is very busy, but 2015 will be a big retrospective year for my as I celebrate my 25th anniversary and all my publishing comes back to me.”
Performing over well over two decades, Brian’s popularity keeps increasing, notably through many television appearances such as The Voice Of Ireland.
He said: “We see a lot of younger people at our concerts and I must thank those people who played my music to their children growing up and then, of course, there’s the instant access of the internet which gives people the chance to check out your back catalogue.”
In 1998 Brian toured with Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and one of his idols, Joni Mitchell, whom he has dedicated a his new album to.
“Joni has just turned 70 and I decided to record an album of my favourite Joni songs; she was a huge influence on the way I approach songs and my guitar-playing. I had just released an original album, Voice, so I though the timing was right for this tribute album.”
Moya Brennan’s monthly Clubeo at Leo’s Tavern, Meenaleck, Crolly, begins at 9pm. Please arrive early to see and support the young talent that will be warming up the crowd before the great Brian Kennedy takes to the stage.