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CLANNAD

Clannad

Prog Folk


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Clannad Clannad album cover
4.41 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews | 36% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Níl Sé Ina La (4:50)
2. Thíos Chois Na Trá Domh (2:55)
3. Brian Boru's March (3:50)
4. Siobhán Ní Dhuibhir (4:30)
5. An Mhaighdean Mhara (2:10)
6. Liza (2:00)
7. An tOileán Úr (4:03)
8. Mrs. McDermott (3:03)
9. The Pretty Maid (2:40)
10. An Pháirc 3:00
11. Harvest Home (1:40)
12. Morning Dew (3:45)

Total Time 38:26

Bonus track on 1997 & 2002 CD releases:
13. An Bealach Seo 'Tá Romhainn (2:47)

Line-up / Musicians

- Máire Brennan / lead vocals, harp
- Noel Duggan / lead guitar, vocals
- Pádraig Duggan / guitar, mandola, vocals
- Pól Brennan / flute, bongos, guitar, vocals
- Ciarán Brennan / double bass, guitar, piano, vocals

With:
- Grainne McMonagle / tin whistle
- John Wadham / drums

Releases information

LP Philips ‎- 6392 013 (1973, Ireland)

CD Royal Records ‎- 19970001 (1997, Netherlands) Remastered (?) with a bonus track from 1975
CD Spectrum Music - 544 976-2 (2002, UK) As above

Thanks to kenethlevine for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy CLANNAD Clannad Music


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CLANNAD Clannad ratings distribution


4.41
(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
36%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
36%
Good, but non-essential (27%)
27%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

CLANNAD Clannad reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
5 stars While the British Isles counterpart to American folk rock had sprung up dramatically in the late 1960s and early 1970s, spearheaded by several classics by FAIRPORT CONVENTION and PENTANGLE among others, all the major acts were singing in some variant of olde or new English. In the meanwhile, in county Donegal, Ireland, a group of 3 siblings and their two twin uncles was attentively absorbing those sounds and nurturing their own. That idiosyncratic style was based in large part in the use of native Gaelic in most of their repertoire. After winning a local music competition in 1970 they were tendered an offer to record with the Irish branch of the Phillips label, who were nonetheless nonplussed by the preponderance of non English lyrics. As a result, it took 3 years before the execs would relent and allow this landmark debut to see the light of a misty day.

Even accepting the fledgling band's stability at this early stage, "Clannad" is an uncommonly well seasoned inaugural album. Perhaps sensing that their recording lives might be brief, they plucked the best of breed from their 500 song canon, so the breadth of material here is wider than at any other point during their initial run. Particularly noteworthy are the excursions into jazz folk a la Pentangle, conjured by Maire's Jacqui McShee like vocals and Ciaran's double bass, both of which would become a staple of their sound. While "Níl Sé Ina La" openly shares this fascination, "Siobhan Ni Dhuibhir" does so more subtly within a rigid Celtic folk framework.

One aspect of Clannad's sound that diverges from the "trad arr" of most bands of their ilk is the absence of fiddles, with Paul Brennan's flute or Maire Brennan's harp tending to carry the melody that would otherwise be relegated to the violins. Moreover, Clannad rarely contents themselves with ad nauseum repetition of jigs and reels played at breakneck speed to impress their audience, preferring slow airs sporting more delicate blown or plucked motifs for attenuated instrumentals or breaks within often forlorn ballads. The instrumental "Mrs McDermott" is precisely the template for the elegance that is Clannad, while the sweet "The Pretty Maid" speaks to their grasp of the heart and what makes its strings bough.

The album closes with an oft covered song called "Morning Dew", which was written by Canadian folksinger Bonnie Dobson and popularized by the GRATEFUL DEAD among others, its post apocalyptic imagery at odds with its pastoral mood and veneer of the purity of the dew. Maire's interpretation over finespun acoustic guitar and exquisitely spare harmonies is complemented by a flute solo with timid piano accompaniment.

The cachet of this first Clannad album has been up sold over the years by its rarity, first as a hard to find LP without CD re release, then as a CD that just never seems to be available, and by the likelihood that many fans have never heard it. However, it largely merits the secretive whispers it invokes, with its only flaw being its eclecticism. In the prog world, that's an advantage, and while this isn't a prog rock classic in any conventional sense, it's a fulfillment of a family mission on par with that of ALAN STIVELL across the channel, stoked by its ongoing relevance in the decades since.

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars On this eponymous debut, Clannad present a brace of Irish-Celtic folk music with a few modernisations here and there influenced by the electric folk approach of the likes of Fairport Convention. The more placid, New Agey direction of some of their later work is more or less absent; what you do get in spades, even this early on in their career, is the semse of otherworldly majesty pervading the recording. With just barely enough psychedelic touches here and there to be regarded as mainstream enough for Phillips to release (despite the worries about the commercial viability of an album recorded entirely in Irish), this is an interesting early 1970s electric folk artifact.

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