- 14 May 19
In their album Turas 1980, Clannad is captured live just before global stardom.
This 20-track, double-CD radio recording from a concert at Bremen University in 1980 predates Clannad’s spectacular rise to global stardom.
Their musical unity can be attributed to their love of the same Donegal tradition, as well as their family background – the group then being comprised of frontwoman Moya Brennan and her two brothers Ciarán and Pól, in addition to uncles Noel and the late Padraig Duggan.
The immediacy is enhanced not only by the inclusion of stage announcements, but by background noises and inter-band chatter as well. There’s the added bonus that some of the tracks have never been released on any Clannad album, while others played on the night were to form part of their next studio LP.
Playful opener ‘Turas O’Carolan’ is a timely reminder that Moya was no mean harpist, and ‘Paddy’s Rambles Through the Fields’ allows Pól to showcase his flute skills.
The a capella version of the poem ‘Valparaiso’ features their superb three-part harmonies as well as Moya’s solo work. But there are early stage favourites too. For ‘Dúlamán’, vocals and instruments weave around each other to wondrous effect, while the rebel song ‘Siúil a Rún’ takes on a sparser, bleaker texture.
There’s a graceful grandeur to ‘Two Sisters’; and ‘Down by the Salley Gardens’ was already a popular staple of their live output. You can tell from the vigorous audience response that they were truly loving it.
Meanwhile the ten-minute ‘Níl Sé’N Lá’ hints at what was to come, with touches of folk-rock and prog leading to a fiery rock climax. It is worth noting that they had the inimitable Nicky Ryan weaving his extraordinary magic at the sound desk.
While other live Clannad albums are available, this is the one that most captures the quintet in all their natural glory.
Turas 1980 is out now.