"I dont know why but on
Brians Theme the opening track of Maurice Lennons Brian Boru
project Ive got the song Go Tell It On The Mountain running through my
head. But I digress. This is an album that has obviously been a labour of love full of
subtle nuances and decorative interweaving of rhythm changes. This isnt a case of
just being clever for the sake of it as the palette of musical colours creates an aural
soundscape. With Maurices fiddle at the helm surround by such luminaries as Donal
Lunny, Mairtin OConnor and Anthony Drennan (taking time off from his role in The
Corrs) you couldnt really fail. Noel Eccles brooding percussion is used to full
effect throughout without overwhelming the listener with heavy-handed intrusion. In fact,
the whole album is wonderfully restrained and brings back memories of the Irish TV
programme The Session. On the vocal tracks Aisling and My Reign Is
Over Maurice! sounds uncannily like Dick Gaughan leaving you wondering why he
didnt include more. OK, so its not an album that will push the musical
boundaries in say the way Stocktons Wing did when they were going but it is a worthy
contribution to any Celtic music collection."
Live Review Maurice Lennon Glór Centre
Ennis Co Clare Saturday May 25th 2002
"Having read Morgan Llywelyn 's historical novel 'Lion of Ireland ' some twenty years
ago ex Stockton's Wing fiddler Maurice Lennon has been fascinated by the legend that was
Brian Boru. His one wish in all that time was to try to put his life story to music. His
desire has been fulfilled with the release of his first solo album Brian Boru -The High
King of Tara. A 'concept' album telling in music (with some words) the life story of Brian
Boru -it highlights Maurice Lennon's giftedness as a musician and composer within a neo
The first public concert airing of Brian Boru -The High King of Tara took place in Ennis'
new Glór Centre on Saturday May 25th 2002 as the Flagship evening concert of this year's
Fleadh Nua. Coming into Glór and eying its amenities-a long theatre bar, a gallery and
the auditorium one cannot but be impressed. Ennis at last has a concert venue on par with
any major arts centre/theatre in Ireland, up to now a sorely lacking amenity in a town so
renowned for traditional music.
The second, half was devoted to Maurice Lennon's epic work Brian Boru The High King of
Tara. While the first half radiated the relaxed informality of Comhatas concerts, this
half was a fully concentrated contemporary work. Maurice Lennon's majestic fiddle lead
Kincora a full band complete with Rod Quinn's extensive percussion array, Seamus Brett's
keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, uilleann pipes, flute and accordion. When
listening to Brian Boru The High King of Tara on disc shades of Donal Lunny, Shaun Davey
and Bill Whelan's epic compositions seep through occasionally. However, Maurice Lennon's
work is imbued with a greater concentration of the melodic nuances of traditional music.
The Burning of Boruma and Gathering of the Dal gCais hit supreme traditional/contemporary
fusion form while St. Patrick's Cross bathed in its melodic simplicity. Introducing
vocalist Sean Keane for the gently resigned My Reign is Over, the event took on a fresh
new colour. The lack of songs had not been noticed until then but Keane's brief cameo was
short sweet and stunning in that order.
While Brian Boru The High King of Tara scales the musical heights, to make the proverbial
good thing better leads me to the following conclusion-the possibility of using a narrator
for live concerts could be investigated to heighten the sense of occasion and help an
audience unfamiliar with the subject matter enter fully into the underlying concept.
For Maurice Lennon the realisation of Brian Boru -the High King of Tara both on CD and on
stage is a triumph on a personal as well as creative level. The adaptation of Brian Boru
-the High King of Tara for stage presentation marks his re-emergence both as a composer
and a musician. However, the treatment of the project from here on in is what will mark
its rise or fall - tonight was an impressive start but much of Brian Boru -the High King
of Tara's future success and viability lies in the efforts made to reach out and capture a
wider general audience. Musically Brian Boru -the High King of Tara contains work of
immense compositional worth and value but this show screams for a marketplace such as a
Lorient, Celtic Connections or Celtic Colours premiere-such is its major stance- anyone
out there willing to rise to the challenge? "
© John O'Regan June 2002
"Qui, s'intéressant un tant soit peu
à l'Histoire de l'Irlande, n'a entendu parler de Brian Boru, le grand roi de Tara,
surnommé le Lion d'Irlande? C'est en 1002 que Brian Boru se fit proclamer roi d'Irlande,
Il y a 1.000 ans exactement. Et c'est l'année du millénaire qu'a choisie Maurice Lennon
pour commémorer l'histoire de ce roi de légende.
Originaire du Co. Leitrim dans le
nord-ouest, Maurice Lennon est un fiddler reconnu dans le monde de la musique irlandaise,
qui a fondé dans les années 80 le célèbre groupe Stockton's Wing. Depuis toujours il
compose musique et chansons. Bill Whelan, Cherish The Ladies ou Natalie McMaster comptent
parmi les interprètes de sa musique.
Brian Boru voit Maurice lennon s'embarquer
dans un ambitieux projet : un portrait musical en 12 tableaux du héros irlandais du X
siècle. Pour ce faire il s'est adjoint les services de quelques amis et non des moindres.
Donal Luny en multi-instrumentiste et producteur, dont on reconnait incontestablement la
"patte". Mais aussi Máirtín O'Connor, Noël Eccles ou Anthony Drennan... ainsi
que le chanteur Sean Keane.
Bref, une bien belle fresque historique qui
se conclut pars les vers du barde de Brian Boru, ecrits juste après la mort de ce
Philippe COUSIN - le peuple breton
Brian Boru: A Musical Portrait
Largely based on the novel Lion of Ireland by Morgan Llywelyn, Brian
Boru depicts the life story of the most famous of all the High Kings of Ireland
through music and song. Composed by fiddler Maurice Lennon (former member of
Stocktons Wing), the actual performance of this musical biography is in the hands of
the usual suspects, who include Donal Lunny, Mairtin OConnor and Anthony Drennan, as
well as a welcome guest appearance by Sean Keane. The Donal Lunny influence is most
tangible he leaves an indelible stamp on every project he touches.
Undulating between glory, triumph and grief, the musical content is vast. The accompanying
notes are useful for those not in the know about the history of Brian Boru, in that they
provide a guideline to the process, musical and biographical. The opening track,
Brians Theme is glorious, full of hope and expectation, with fiddle,
percussion and Uilleann Pipes taking control. Stone of Destiny is perhaps the
most instantly accessible of all the tracks, and marks the great occasion of Borus
coming to the throne. The unfaltering march of Tree of Sorrows depicts the
infamous and tragic battle of 1014, and Lennon captures the emotion of the event most
The downfall, of course, on a set of works such as this, is that the individual qualities
of the musicians rarely get the chance to penetrate the sound as a whole. Nonetheless this
album is, undoubtedly, packed full with high class playing and beautiful melodic moments.
A great soundtrack to a life. Jennifer Byrne - World Music Portal
Brian Boru, a musical journey for
After 20 years in a successful
traditional band like Stockton's Wing, what's a man to do?
That's what fiddle player Maurice Lennon
wondered to himself after he parted company with the band about five years ago.
"All good things must come to an end" he told the Longford News "I'd had
enough and it was time to move on."
But he didn't sit on his rear for long. Soon he was working with Sean Keane, whom he
describes as "an amazing vocalist".
But after two years doing that, he went back to something that had been floating around
his head for a long time.
"Years ago, when I was in Stockton's Wing, I read a book by an American, Morgan
Llywelyn, called Lion of Ireland. It was about Brian Boru.
Morgan is really well known in the States and has sold 40 million books.
I loved the book and it was on my mind that some day I would put the story to music. And
that's what I have been doing for the past two years."
Along with Donal Lunny, and other well known musicians, including Anthony Drennan (who
plays with The Corrs), Maurice has been working on his latest production, an album called
Brian Boru, A Musical Portrait
For Maurice, the electrical guitar
represents the spirit of the land, and the fiddle represents Brian Boru, which is why the
two are the main instruments used on the album.
"Brian Boru stood for an awful lot
that was quintessentially Irish. And there's much more to him than someone who just died
in the battle of Clontarf." "He was crowned High King 1,000 years ago this year,
and this has not been commemorated."
Maurice's immediate plans are to bring his unusual album, which tells the story, track by
track, of Brian Boru, to America, where, he believes, there is a growing market and a lot
Conor McHugh - Longford News
"Maurice lennon's new album, 'Brian
Boru - The High King of Tara', is a musical portrait of the great man, and features an
impressive line-up of Musicians.
The album has an all-star cast. Lennon is a relation of Leitrim fiddle player Charlie
Lennon and was a member of Stockton's Wing. The album was produced by Donal Lunny, and
features Mairtín O'Connor and Sean Keane.
As befits a 'concept ' album, the music is epic, and cinematic in its sweep, yet, there is
no trace of self indulgence. The music always sounds powerful, emotional and purposeful.
The main melodic themes are led by Lennon's fiddle playing which impresses throughout and
shows a great stock of fresh ideas.
The opening track 'Brian's Theme' sums up all of these qualities as does 'The Burning of
Boruma', 'Lá Ollamh' and a powerful reading of the venerable 'Brian Boru's March'. There
are a number of rock influences, but this is kept to a minimum allowing the traditional
music to shine through. Sean Keane also provides beautiful vocals on 'Aisling' and 'My
Reign is Over'.
Whether Brian Boru joins O'Riarda's Míse Éire or Shaun Davey's The Relief of Derry
Symphony in the stakes of great musical interpretations of Irish history remains to be
seen, but no doubt a live performance with the same personnel as on the album would be
some event. As an album of modern trad, Lennon can be justifiably proud of this
A HUGELY interesting suite from the mind of
a Major fiddler....It dose however successfully integrate modernism to several fine tunes
excellently played, particularly on fiddle. Donal Lunny is the production hand, with a
strong colouring from Noel Eccles' percussion and Mick O'Brien and Mikey Smith on uilleann
Fintain Vallely - Sunday Tribune - (4 star rating)
"Maurice Lennon, one time member of
Stockton's Wing, stays true to his trad roots on this CD. He embarks on an ambitious task
of depicting 10th Century Irish hero Brian Boru in a musical style that blends traditional
with some classical and contemporary influences. Maurice's great strength lies in his
ability for storytelling and depicting history through his music."
presents his album to Frank Fahey.