Clannad, who hail from Co. Donegal in the North West of Ireland, take their name from the Gaelic word for ‘family’, which is most appropriate for when they started out playing in their farther Leo’s bar about 1970 Maire Brennan was accompanied by her brothers Ciaran (vocals, guitar, bass), Pol (guitar, percussion, flute, vocals) and two of their uncles, Padraig Duggan (guitar, vocals, mandolin) and Noel Duggan (guitar, vocals). The Brennans come from a very musical family, their father Leo was a former cabaret band leader and their mother was a school teacher who ran the local choir.
With their reputation growing at a steady pace they began playing folk festivals in Ireland. In 1973 they released their first album simply titled Clannad which showed a band aware of the Irish music of the time, there was a taste of modern influences as well as traditional songs, sung in the Irish language. In 1975 they released their second album ‘Clannad Two’ which was produced by Donal Lunny of Planxty and Bothy Band fame.
This was followed the following year by the Dúlamán album. By this time the group’s reputation was spreading throughout Europe where standing ovations were commonplace. At this point they came to the attention of Tara who recorded their next album Crann Ull which in addition to featuring Maire’s harp playing also featured a fuller band sound which was a feature of their live shows at the time.
In 1981 they recorded their second album with Tara, Fuaim (meaning Sound). For this album they were joined by their sister Enya on keyboards and vocals. Fuaim’ album the group introduced an even bigger sound with the use of synthesizer, electric guitar, clarinet, saxophone and percussion.
The following year Enya left the group to pursue a solo career and the band set about recording their Magical Ring album (which included ‘Harry’s Game’). This was to prove a major turning point in their career, shooting them to stardom and worldwide recognition.
Clannad (Phillips, 1973)
Clannad 2 (Gael-Linn, 1974)
Dúlamán (Gael-Linn, 1976)
Clannad in Concert (Ogham Records, 1978)
Crann Úll (Tara Records, 1980)
Fuaim (Tara Records, 1982)
Magical Ring (RCA Records, 1983)
Legend (RCA Records, 1984)
Macalla (RCA Records, 1985)
Sirius (RCA Records, 1987)
Atlantic Realm (RCA Records, 1989)
The Angel and the Soldier Boy (RCA Records, 1989)
Anam (RCA Records, 1990)
Banba (RCA Records, 1993)
Lore (RCA Records, 1996)
Landmarks (RCA Records, 1998)
Clannad: Live in Concert (Koch Records, 2005)
Clannad: Christ Church Cathedral (ARC Music, 2012)
Nádúr (ARC Music, 2013)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.