CLANNAD – Turas 1980 (Made In Germany Music, MIG02092)

TurasOn the heels of their 1979 US tour – the longest by any Irish band back then – a five-piece Clannad fetched up in Germany having their live show recorded by Radio Bremen. Previously unbroadcast, the recently resurfaced recordings are now available as Turas 1980 (“an turas” meaning “a journey”), a twenty-track double album. Drawing on the band’s early output, the album also features some otherwise unrecorded tracks. It’s a collector’s dream.

It also represents a fascinating point in the band’s evolution. After ten years together, this Donegal family group was on the cusp of achieving unimaginable mainstream global success. Yet here they are, unaware of what’s yet to come, just happy playing to their strong German fanbase.

The live radio recording was a first for the band and Máire Brennan recalls how nervous they all were, although it doesn’t show. This is intensely powerful, rooted and earthy music with a curious timelessness. In tunes like opener ‘Turas Carolan’, the beguiling air of ‘Paddy’s Rambles Through The Fields’ or ‘The Old Couple’, there’s almost a sense of a timeslip: a sidelong glimpse revealing something ancient, raw and deep from the land.

The tracks here also lack much of the misty ethereality characteristic of some of Clannad’s later output, although the roots of it can clearly be heard in songs like ‘Siúil a Rún’ and the bell-like ‘Dúlamán’. The band’s legendary tight harmonies and Moya Brennan’s cool flowing water vocals are beautifully represented, particularly on ‘Valparaiso’ and ‘Máire Bhruinneall’.

The musical tightness and versatility of the band is evident, too. A standard like ‘Down By The Salley Gardens’ may be taken at a respectful, stately pace, but an entirely different mood emerges from the looser, jazzy bass interludes of ‘Níl Sé’n Lá’ that closes the album.

As to sound quality, the music is excellent with all the band parts crisply audible and a pure clean sound. During the often drily witty between-song chat, there is some quality loss and distracting ambient noise, but it’s a small price to pay for an otherwise excellent live recording. It does repay quality audio replay, as the lossy formats don’t really do it justice.

Surviving members of Clannad were involved in bringing this album to fruition and it stands proudly both as an historical memento and a bittersweet memorial to absent friends: to founder Pádraig Duggan, as well as “father of the band” Leo Brennan. It’s a glorious and appropriate tribute.

Su O’Brien

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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Artist website: https://www.facebook.com/ClannadMusic/

A selection of Clannad songs recorded in 1978:

BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2014 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS ANNOUNCED

BBC Radio 2 has announced the recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement awards.

Clannad_2014Carthy2014

 

 

 

 

 

The two prestigious accolades will be presented to Clannad and Martin Carthy at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014 in a ceremony being held at the Royal Albert Hall on February 19. The Radio 2 Folk Awards celebrate an important milestone this year – marking their 15th anniversary.

Legendary Celtic band Clannad, who will also be performing at the awards, comprises siblings Moya, Ciaran and Pol Brennan, and their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan. Their music mixes the traditional and the modern, the past and the future. The band’s record sales exceed fifteen million since release of their eponymous debut in 1973. Towards the end of the seventies they recruited their younger sister on piano and harmony vocals. She worked on two albums and embarked on several tours with them before going on to establish her own highly successful solo career as Enya.

Clannad said:

“We are absolutely honoured to be recognised in this way by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The BBC have been such great supporters of us since we first broke through in the UK with Theme From Harry’s Game. We are really looking forward to being part of the big night at the Royal Albert Hall.”

English folk singer Martin Carthy has remained one of the most influential figures in British traditional music. For more than 50 years he has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators, and has recorded more than 40 albums, with only 10 of these being solo records. He has recorded with legendary bands including Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey and Imagined Village to name but a few.

Martin Carthy said:

“I’ve just been lucky enough to follow my heart and pretty much do what I want over the past 50 years or so. If, along the way, I’ve been able to play a part, however small, in keeping the traditional music of these islands alive, then I consider myself a fortunate man.”

Bob Shennan, Controller BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, said:

“The Radio 2 Folk Awards exist to celebrate the very best in folk music. Clannad and Martin Carthy have made magnificent contributions to Folk music over the years and are thoroughly deserving of these prestigious accolades. Many congratulations to them.”

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Awards, Radio 2 has also announced that the Cambridge Folk Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is being awarded the Good Tradition Award. This award is given to a person, group or organisation for their contribution to the preservation, dissemination and continuance/ progression of traditional music over a number of years.

Radio 2 has also confirmed that Martin Simpson, Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer and The Full English are set to perform on the night.

The awards ceremony at The Royal Albert Hall will see some of the biggest names in folk music come together under one roof to celebrate the UK’s thriving folk music scene.

The event will welcome a host of star guests, with Bellowhead, Suzanne Vega and The Fisherman’s Friends set to perform live on the night.

This year’s awards will see the addition of a new element – the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will recognise the special contribution of an individual to the world of folk music; someone whose impact and influence has had a lasting impression.

The first entrant to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is Cecil Sharp – widely regarded as being a key figure in having helped lay the foundations for the modern folk revival in the early 20th century.

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast live on Radio 2 from 8pm, and in vision via the Red Button and online at bbc.co.uk/radio2, with video highlights to follow the next day. The audience can also follow the event and get involved via the Radio 2 website.

The full list of nominees in this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards are:

Folk Singer of the Year

  • Bella Hardy
  • Fay Hield
  • Lisa Knapp
  • Lucy Ward

Best Duo

  • Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson
  • Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
  • Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
  • Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin

Best Group

  • Breabach
  • The Full English
  • Lau
  • Melrose Quartet

Best Album

  • Child Ballads – Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer
  • The Full English – The Full English
  • Hidden Seam – Lisa Knapp
  • Vagrant Stanzas – Martin Simpson
  • Won’t Be Long Now – Linda Thompson

Horizon Award

  • Olivia Chaney
  • Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
  • Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
  • Georgia Ruth

Musician of the Year

  • Aidan O’Rourke
  • Will Pound
  • Martin Simpson
  • Sam Sweeney

Best Original Song

  • Love’s For Babies and Fools – Linda Thompson
  • None the Wiser – Chris Wood
  • Swimming in the Longest River – Olivia Chaney
  • Two Ravens – Lisa Knapp

Best Traditional Track

  • Codi Angor – Georgia Ruth
  • Les Bras de Mer – Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
  • Mary Macdonald’s – Rant
  • Willie of Winsbury – Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer

BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award

  • Hattie Briggs
  • Gentlemen of Few
  • Granny’s Attic
  • The Mischa Macpherson Trio

www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre

BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2014

114-mark-radcliffeBBC Radio 2 Folk Show presenter, Mark Radcliffe, has announced that the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards are to return on Wednesday 19 February 2014. Mark also announced that the awards will be returning to London and taking place at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets for the event are available now from bbc.co.uk/radio2/folkawards.

The awards, which celebrate their 15th anniversary in 2014, will see some of the biggest names in folk music come together under one roof to celebrate the UK’s thriving folk music scene.

The event will welcome a whole host of star guests, with Bellowhead, Suzanne Vega, Clannad and The Fisherman’s Friends confirmed to perform live on the night. Other acts on the line-up will be announced at a later date.

This year’s awards will see the addition of a new element – the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will recognise the special contribution of an individual to the world of folk music; someone whose impact and influence has had a lasting impression.

The first entrant to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is Cecil Sharp – widely regarded as being a key figure in having helped lay the foundations for the modern folk revival in the early 20th century.

Al Booth, Editor Specialist Music at Radio 2 said:

“As the country’s most prolific collector of folk music and dance, Cecil Sharp amassed a collection which includes songs and tunes that have been part of the fabric of English life for hundreds of years. Without his work the careers of Martin Carthy, Fairport Convention, Nic Jones and Kate Rusby might have been very different. It is fitting that he should be the first inductee into the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame.”

Nominees for the Folk Award categories were announced by Mark Radcliffe in the Folk Show on Wednesday November 20. The categories include: Folk Singer of the Year, Best Duo, Best Group, Best Album, Horizon Award, Musician of the Year, Best Original Song, Best Traditional Track and BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. The awards show will also include the presentation of Lifetime Achievement and Good Tradition Awards.

Bob Shennan, Controller BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, said: “Folk Music is an integral part of the BBC Radio 2 schedule. It is a much loved genre by our audience and we remain committed to bringing our listeners the widest possible range and choice of music. This year The Radio 2 Folk Awards reach an important milestone in their history. And what better way to celebrate their 15th anniversary than them taking place in the very special location that is the Royal Albert Hall. I’m sure it will be a night to remember.”

Mark Radcliffe, presenter of the Radio 2 Folk Show, said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be hosting the Folk Awards again this year, particularly on the event’s 15th anniversary and in the very grand Royal Albert Hall. Folk music is in rude health, and we’re all relishing the chance to make a big fuss about the genre’s vibrancy, diversity and sheer quality.”

Drivetime presenter Simon Mayo will be broadcasting a special programme live from the Albert Hall (5pm). The interval will feature performances from the nominees for the Young Folk Award 2014.

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast live on Radio 2 from 8pm, and in vision via the Red Button and online at bbc.co.uk/radio2, with video highlights to follow the next day. The audience can also follow the event and get involved via the Radio 2 website.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

RACHEL HAIR TRIO – No More Wings (March Hair Records MHRCD003)

One of my earliest experiences of performance harp was by ‘Harpo’ Marx in the film “A Day At The Races” and again in a film that the title escapes me. The only reason I mention this is at the way he exploited genres such as classical, folk and jazz to make the music accessible to the widest possible audience. Maybe the cross-over from folk to jazz (or vice versa) isn’t as dramatic as it sounds for here is proof positive in the more than capable hands of Rachel Hair (harp), Jenn Butterworth (guitar/vocal) and Euan Burton on double bass. Opening with her own self-penned title track “No More Wings” Hair sets the listener up for a bright and breezy show of digital dexterity that would have the angels smiling in Heaven. With the addition of Butterworth’s vocals and softly slapped guitar chords the jazz-tinged interpretation of Cyril Tawney’s “Grey Funnel Line” pushes the lyrics at a brisk (but not outrageous) pace and in my opinion makes the song all the more enjoyable. With the aid of tasteful breathy vocals (think Clannad or Enya) on several tracks adding a dynamic splash of colour to proceedings this music will bath you, in Radox metaphorically speaking without the merest hint of being kitsch. It surely won’t be too much longer before they add these talented artists to the roster of the Transatlantic Sessions…here’s hoping.

PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist Web link: www.rachelhair.com

IONA – Another Realm (Open Sky Records OPENSKY 16)

I’ll only mention it once (and believe me, it’s a compliment) that when Clannad released their album “Robin Of Sherwood” in 1984 they were to prove inspirational not only to me but they also opened the door to a far wider demographic than ‘folk music’ could ever achieve on its own. The reason I mention this is that for lovers of this genre of music Iona have now accepted the baton of stylish folk-rock that I did not expect to see revived. Since the band formed in 1989 I have for some reason only enjoyed peripheral knowledge of their CD releases…but, from now on…no longer! When I say that music and arrangements this good are a rare commodity you should check the band out as soon as possible. If, like me you enjoy being enveloped in deep washes of sumptuous keyboards (courtesy of Dave Bainbridge), Joanne Hogg’s vocals, Frank Van Essen’s violin, Phil Barker on bass guitar and the crowning glory that is Martin Nolan’s Uilleann pipes this review may perhaps prove something of an understatement. Although not strictly ‘folk’ it is the grand, sweeping statements that captures the imagination like standing on the edge of Beachy Head peering over the precipice and wondering what it would be like to soar like a bird as you launch your self from the cliffs. OK, so perhaps my eloquence (or lack of it) in conveying my thoughts in prose is for some a bit too flowery…but I hope you get my drift? Without wishing to sound condescending, if your only preconceived idea of the band is through their association with all things ‘Christian’ then I’d like to suggest that you think again and treat the music as ‘art for art’s sake’…you won’t be disappointed. Via a process of reminiscing, the only other artists textually to come close to Iona were in the displays of showmanship by the pomp-rock band Renaissance and particularly their album “Ashes Are Burning”…which again I hope will be treated as a compliment of the highest order. Finally congratulations on the superlative artwork provided by Tim Martindale. You can actually read the lyrics with no problem and the photography is stunning. A solid pat on the back to everyone involved. As they used to say years ago, I’ll give it ten! (or five…depending which publication you’re reading).

PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Celtic Skies featuring Andrea Corr & Damien Dempsey…

Celtic Skies is a collection of popular Irish and Scottish traditional songs recorded in a new, contemporary style. The album features various established Celtic  artists such as Andrea Corr , Damien Dempsey and Moya Brennan , together with young up and coming artists who all bring their unique interpretation to these much-loved classics. The production team behind the album, Jake Jacas and John Reynolds have worked with artists such as Sade and Ali Campbell through to Andrea Corr and Sinead O’Connor.

The album’s appeal spans all age groups and from the timeless beauty of songs such as ‘Black is the Colour’ – through to a passion fuelled rendition of ‘Flower of Scotland’– this album offers a stunning and modern interpretation of these iconic traditional songs.

About some of the featured artists:

When Bono stated recently, “I think she has one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced”, he was heralding what many people know already about The Voice of Clannad, Moya Brennan

Ben Thapa – Opera Magazine said, “beautiful tone and beautiful phrasing

Lumiere – Legendary Irish Record Producer John Reynolds said, “Pauline and Éilís have a rare and unique singing style I had never heard before. From the moment I heard their voices I knew we had to make an album. Discovering these songs through their voices lifted them into a place of real soulful tradition, ethereal but at same time modern. A pure joy.”

Damien Dempsey (The Irish Lion) – Roddy Doyle wrote that “the Irish are the blacks of Europe and Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland and the Northside Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin”. Born in Donaghmede on Dublin’s Northside in 1975, Damien Dempsey is the voice of that underclass and the quintessential Irish singer songwriter.

Celtic Skies Album Track Listing:

1. She Moved Through the Fair  – Featuring  Andrea Corr
2. Down by the Salley Gardens – Featuring  Moya Brennan
3. Oh Danny Boy – Featuring Rebecca Watson
4. Black is the Colour – Featuring Joanna Eden
5. The Last Rose of Summer  – Featuring  Lumiere
6. Rare Ould Times – Featuring Damien Dempsey
7. Heart of My Homeland – Featuring Joanna Eden
8. Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond – Featuring Ben Thapa
9. Mountains of Mourne – Instrumental
10. Flower of Scotland – Featuring Rebecca Watson
11.My Ain Folk – Featuring Ben Thapa
12. Water is Wide – Featuring Joanna Eden
13. Foggy Dew – Instrumental
14. Hills of the Dawn – Featuring Joanna Eden
15. Auld Lang Syne – Featuring Rebecca Watson

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.