Christopher Andrew "Christy" Moore (born 7 May 1945) is an Irish folk singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is one of the founding members of Planxty and Moving Hearts. His first album, Paddy on the Road was recorded with Dominic Behan in 1969. In 2007, he was named as Ireland's greatest living musician in RTÉ's People of the Year Awards.
Moore was born in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. He was originally a bank employee who wanted to express himself using traditional music. During a bank strike in 1966, which lasted twelve weeks, he went to England, as many striking officials did, but didn't return when the strike was settled. "I had a wild and wonderful time in England, with no bank manager looking over my shoulder," he said. Doing general labouring work, he frequented the folk clubs and the Irish music pubs where he met Seamus Ennis, Margaret Barry, Luke Kelly, Martin Byrnes and many other traditional musicians.
1972 brought his first major release, Prosperous, which brought together the four musicians who shortly thereafter formed Planxty: Liam O'Flynn, Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny. For a time they called themselves "CLAD", an acronym of their names, but soon decided on Planxty.
After leaving Planxty in 1975, Moore continued on his solo career, reforming his old band on occasion (which he has been doing ever since). He also formed the band Moving Hearts with Lunny and five other musicians in 1980. In 1987 he appeared on Gay Byrne's The Late Late Show performing with The Dubliners for their 25th Anniversary. In 2000, he published his autobiography, One Voice.
Moore's earlier years of heavy drinking, sleeping dysfunctional hours, continual travelling and often eating takeaway foods resulted in a decline in health and several operations. Moore's battle with alcohol, and subsequent heart operations, have taken their toll. At the end of the 1990s, Moore reduced his workload for medical reasons.
Some of Moore's songs are heavily influenced by drink and the effects of drink, his song "Delirium Tremens" being a good example. Listening to Johnny Mulhern's song "Hard Cases" caused Moore to recall the Galway drinking scene with local musicians Mickey Finn, Pete Galligan, Corky and Terry Smith.
On 17 April 2009, Moore released his first new studio album in four years, entitled Listen, and promoted it through a series of live gigs.
In December 2011, Moore released the album Folk Tale. His most recent album Where I Come From was released in November 2013 and features a new protest song called "Arthur's Day". The album peaked at number 3 in the Irish album charts.
Political and social commentary:
Moore is best known for his political and social commentary which reflects a left-wing, Irish republican perspective, despite the fact that his mother was a Fine Gael county councillor and parliamentary candidate in Kildare. He supported the republican H-Block protestors with the albums H-Block in 1978, the launch of which was raided by the police, and The Spirit of Freedom. He has also recorded songs by the hunger striker Bobby Sands, including "Back Home in Derry" which is based on Gordon Lightfoot's song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". He ceased supporting the military activities of the IRA in 1987 as a result of the Enniskillen bombing.
Political songs he has performed throughout his career include Mick Hanly's "On the Blanket" about the protests of republican prisoners, "Viva la Quinta Brigada" about Irish volunteers who fought against the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War and "Minds Locked Shut" about Bloody Sunday in Derry.
Moore has endorsed a long list of leftist support causes, ranging from El Salvador to Mary Robinson in the 1990 presidential election. At the Glastonbury Festival in 2005, he sang about the Palestinian solidarity activist Rachel Corrie. He supported the anti-nuclear movement in Ireland playing in many concerts and at festivals in Carnsore Point for the cause.
He opened the festival marking Ballymun's inception as Dublin's first Fairtrade Town on 23 November 2006.
"They Never Came Home" is a song about the Stardust fire of 1981 where 48 people died. The song was recorded on the Ordinary Man album and was released as a single in 1985. The song achieved notoriety when Moore was hauled before the courts because the original song suggested that the fire exits being chained was the only reason for the disaster. Judge Barry Murphy ordered the Ordinary Man album to be withdrawn from the shops and costs were awarded against him. "Another Song is Born" was recorded for the album's re-release. "They Never Came Home" later appeared on his box set and on the album Where I come from.
"St Brendan's Voyage" was banned by the BBC for using the word Gibraltar. The song which Christy Moore wrote "described with humour the travels of a sixth century Kerry saint". According to Christy the song has no political significance. "The Time Has Come" described the last meeting of a hunger striker and his mother Peggy. It received regular plays on Radio Éireann until Eamon McCann reviewed it and wrote of the substance of the song and Radio Éireann banned it. Other songs he knows that were banned are "Section 31", "Mcllhatton" and "Back Home in Derry". "Section 31" was written by Christy Moore's brother Barry Moore aka Luka Bloom. "Section 31" refers to the broadcasting act which made it forbidden to broadcast the voices of members of Sinn Féin. The latter two were banned because they were viewed as subversive. The reason for this was because it was discovered that Bobby Sands wrote to them using the alias "Marcella" when he was in prison.
His solo style includes driving rhythms on guitar and bodhrán as well as slower ballads.
Moore's brother Barry, whose stage name is Luka Bloom, is also a successful singer-songwriter. His nephew, Conor Byrne, is also an accomplished traditional flautist and tin whistle player, with Christy appearing on his Wind Dancer album.
Detention incident, 2004:
In October 2004, Moore was stopped and detained by Special Branch officers at the Welsh port of Holyhead, taken into an office and questioned about the lyrics of his songs. The following day, he released a statement saying: "My driver and I were stopped and held for two hours at Holyhead last Monday, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002. My driver and I were held separately in two interrogation rooms. I found the whole experience threatening. I was questioned about the contents of my briefcase." Despite initial reports to the contrary, the singer's van, which was full of musical equipment, was not searched. "I was questioned about lyrics of songs and I was asked a lot of personal questions about members of my family and my children and about my home. At no time was I given any explanation as to why I was being held and interrogated in this manner", he added. He said the fact that Irish people are still being treated this way on their way to Britain is very "saddening". "I had hoped to deal with this matter out of the public domain. But seeing as it has become a news item, I feel the need to offer my side of the story. I found the whole affair quite frightening."
Desert Island Discs:
In June 2007, Moore was a guest on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs. He selected mainly Irish folk music that had inspired him and spoke of personal and political issues that had shaped his life.
Penguin book of Irish poetry:
In 2010 Christy Moore's song "Lisdoonvarna" which he wrote gained entry in The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry.
On Sunday 10 July 2011 Moore joined Coldplay on stage at 2011 Oxegen Festival performing the song "Ride On".