"Please excuse the creepy crawlies," singer Maire (pronounced moy-a) Brennan says as she clears a couple of her kids' plastic bugs off her dining room table so we can settle in for some craic, the Irish word for good fellowship. Her husky voice melts into warm laughter as she moves the bugs to a side table and pours me a steaming mug of tea.
As we sit, sipping and chatting at her home in a small town outside Dublin, Ireland, I'm hard-pressed to see evidence of Maire's musical success. Pictures drawn by her artists-in-residenceher seven-year-old son, Paul, and nine-year-old daughter, Aisling (pronounced Ashling)are taped to the walls. Legos lay strewn in her living room. As she hushes the family's yellow Lab, Kayla, and reminds Aisling to practice for today's piano lesson, Maire seems more like your average soccer mom than a Grammy-award-winning recording artist who helped pioneer the modern Celtic music genre.
While 47-year-old Maire Brennan's name and face may not be familiar, you've probably heard her voice. Before the release of her two latest recordings, Perfect Time and Whisper to the Wild Water (both Word), Maire led her family's band, Clannadcomprised of two of her brothers and their twin unclesto sales of more than 15 million albums worldwide. Clannad has scored Grammy Awards, top-10 hits on the New Age charts (though being in that category bothers Maire), and songs on the soundtracks of such films as Last of the Mohicans, Patriot Games, and Back to Titanic. Clannad also launched the solo career of New Age music icon, EnyaMaire's sister.1