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Our Women's Hearts

20 years after the release of Ireland's best selling home-grown album 'A Woman's Heart', Kiara Murphy explores the effect this one album had on three generations of Irish women.

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4.6/5 (76 ratings)

Documentary Maker: Kiara Murphy

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Documentary maker: Sarah Blake

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Our Women's Hearts

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of A Women's Heart, Ireland's best-selling home-grown album.

To date this compilation of 6 female Irish artists has sold over 750,000 copies. The album was initially recorded as a low budget sampler project by small Irish label Dara records, but it soon struck a chord with the Irish people and soared in to the album charts at Number 1, where it stayed for over four months.

The line up included Eleanor McEvoy, Mary Black, Maura O Connell, Dolores Keane, Sharon Shannon and Francis Black, with each artist performing two tracks on the album. Some of the artists already had an established career in the music industry, but it catapulted them to a larger international audience. It also raised the profile of lesser- known artists at the time, like Francis Black and Eleanor McEvoy, to a new platform. The title track of the album, “A Woman's Heart”, was composed by Eleanor McEvoy and recorded as a duet with and Mary Black.

Although the album was mainly made up of contemporary songs at the time, it also mixed traditional melodies with haunting ballads, giving it a distinctly new Irish sound that struck a chord with people both at home and abroad. The emotional depth portrayed in the songs seemed to tap into the female psyche and still resonates with women today.

Having heard about the 20th anniversary concerts that were to take place in Dublin last February, Kiara Murphy began to reminisce about going to the original concert back in 1992. Upon contacting friends and family to see who would be interested in going to the anniversary concert, it soon became apparent how influential this album had been not only to the women in her family, but to their friends and women around them.

This documentary explores how this album came about, why it became so popular and the effect it has had on three generations of women.

Featuring Mary Murphy, Ruth Rice, Mary Rice, Deborah Roche, Mary Edwards, Mary Stanley and Martina Cassidy.

Compiled and narrated by Kiara Murphy

Production Supervision by Sarah Blake

Sound Supervision by Richard McCullough

First broadcast 28th April 2012.

The documentary maker would like to express thanks to the 'Ivy Sessions Band' - Bill McDunphy, Robin James Hurt, Mick Morris, Brenda Castles, Tom Flaherty, Andy Flaherty, Kaitlyn Murphy and Niav Killcawley.


'Documentary on One is the home of Irish radio documentaries and the largest library of documentary podcasts available anywhere in the world. We tell stories in sound, mostly Irish ones, and each documentary tells its own story'

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