Keith Donald is a key member of (and saxist for) Moving Hearts, the eclectic instrumental outfit who were described by Eamonn McCann in Hot Press as “the greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world”, and is one of only two Hearts who has never missed a gig. Away from the Hearts, his career in music has been wide and varied.
Having made his gigging debut aged ten on BBC Northern Ireland, he spent his teenage years playing jazz in his native Coleraine and Belfast. Moving south in 1963 to study at Trinity College Dublin, he started playing five nights a week with The Greenbeats and then The Real McCoy. In the ‘90s, he worked for the Arts Council and helped start several educational initiatives including the Ballyfermot Rock School, being a key figure behind its music management course in particular. For the past 15 years Keith has written music for films and documentaries, including the BAFTA award-winning BBC drama United, in 1998. He’s toured and sessioned with such heavyweights as Van Morrison, Christy Moore and The Pogues. Keith is Chairman of IMRO, is on the board of the MCPSI and, last year, was elected Chairperson of Burma Action Ireland. After four decades of playing saxophone, Keith recently picked up the clarinet. He practices daily and occasionally gigs with jazz act FUBAR.