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CLANNAD - Turas 1980

CLANNAD - Turas 1980
MIG Music MIG02092

Just 10 years into their musical journey, in 1980 the band recorded a concert for Radio Bremen in Germany, which was then archived until recently unearthed. The two CDs here are like an audible time capsule taking the listener back to those heady days. This is the original line-up, immediately prior to Enya joining, when the game changed forever. At the time of the broadcast, the five-piece ensemble was still close to its Donegal roots, and yet to embark on the epic worldwide tours that came later. Wall to wall trad songs and tunes are given a delicate airing with intricate instrumental backing and harmonies that can only derive from familial origins (the Brennan siblings and their Duggan uncles). Sometimes strident, for example, in their delivery of Ó Bhean A’Tí, or touching (Gathering Mushrooms), the recordings are brilliant throughout, courtesy of the original Radio Producer Peter Schulze, who has done a fine job. The tune sets, including The Fairies Hornpipe/Off To California, are as good as they get, and capture the assembled musicians at their acoustic peak. All credit to the person who managed to find these gems and allow them to be shared with the world. One wonders what other concerts are in radio station archives just waiting to be discovered.

The saddest aspect of all this is that founder member, Pádraig Duggan, who excelled here on guitar, mandolin, harmonica and vocal, passed away in 2016 and is not around to celebrate this piece of musical history. A well packaged epic album of pristine music, of its time, but also timeless.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.