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Clannad

Turas 1980

Review by Gary Hill

Clannad are such an intriguing act. It's one part band and one part family. Their blend of traditional Celtic sounds with folk music is captivating. The group is extremely talented. This live recording is so cool. I love how they give little stories behind the various tunes before they play them. I'd say that the majority of these songs are in Gaelic, but there are a handful in English and a few instrumentals.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
CD 1
              
Turas O'Carolan

Coming in tentative and sparse, this gradually works outward to a mellow and intricate old world styled instrumental piece that is both playful and beautiful. This instrumental rises upward in style with harp and pipes augmenting the guitar quite well.

An Crúiscín Lán / Cuach Mo Lon Dubh Buí
Traditional Celtic music in a very mellow approach starts this, and the cut moves outward from there in style. This gets more energetic and works well in a classic Celtic style.
An Buinneán Buí
This beautiful piece begins nearly acapella and grows gradually outward from there.
Máire Bhruinneall
An acapella piece with multiple voices, this is a classic Celtic number. It's also quite pretty.
An tOileán Úr
This has a great folk rocking sound to it. It's still very traditional. It has some intriguing twists and turns. I like the multi-voice vocal arrangement.
Crann Úll
Gentle and intricate textures open this cut. Moya Brennan's voice comes in with typical style and flair. The tune evolves into a cool Celtic folk number that works very well.
Gathering Mushrooms
The first tune in English, this has a great vocal arrangement. It is very much another classy folk song.
Paddy's Rambles Through the Fields / Tommy O Dea's Reel
Traditional instrumentation brings this piece into being and moves it forward. After a while stringed instruments join, and this instrumental picks up the pace. This is a fun little two-fer of music.
Rince Philib a Cheoil
Intricate Celtic textures make up this tasty folk number. It's traditional, bouncy and just a good time.
CD 2
          
Ar A Ghabháil'N A Chuan Domh / An Ghiobóg

Moya Brennan's voice starts this with just a stand up bass as accompaniment. I really love the lilting melody of this song. After the minute and a half mark the cut gets more instruments added to the mix, bringing more of a folk music vibe.

Siúil A Rún
Mellower folk sounds open this cut. It's slow and contemplative. It's also beautiful.
Valparaiso
Very traditional in nature, this is a pretty Celtic tune that works well.
Ó Bhean A'Tí
Especially traditional in nature, this has a great folk sound to it. It's bouncy and quite tasty.
Hornpipes: the Fairies Hornpipe / Off to California
More traditional Celtic sounds are on display here, This two-fer has a great energy and vibe to it.
Down by the Salley Gardens
More of a mainstream folk music tune, this still has some definite Celtic elements on display. It's a gentle and quite pretty piece of music that works very well.
The Old Couple
A playful number, this is heavily vocal driven. In fact, it's nearly acapella for the first verse or so.
Dúlamán
I dig the folk music textures on this number. The vocal arrangement is very classy, too.  This is another effective piece.
Teidhir Abhaile Riú
More traditional Celtic in nature, this has a great rhythm and energy to it. It's one of the more fun songs here. The audience gets involved clapping along.
Two Sisters
This traditional piece gets a tasty performance. It's a lot of fun.
Níl Sé'N Lá
I love the energy and melodies on this number. It's fast paced and energized. It's also very traditional in nature. Yet there are definitely folk rock stylings in this, as well. At times it makes me think of Jethro Tull, then again the flute solo contributes to that. I dig the bass solo, too. The jam at the end of the song takes things into seriously rocking territory. They work this extended movement into some seriously proggy jamming that seems to lean toward things like Focus and Traffic. It drops back to particularly mellow folk roots for a return to the song proper. That part starts particularly mellow, but works out to rocking material. They definitely saved the best song for last. 
 
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