Belfast Telegraph

Clannad on song with potent blend of rock and traditional

By Andrew Johnston

Clannad were back in Belfast last night for a special Halloween gig.

The previous time the legendary Co Donegal family group graced the Waterfront was last St Patrick's Day, so they seem to like making events of their visits.

The main change since that show - at which the Brennans and Duggans were joined by the Ulster Orchestra - is that in 2013 the band released their first studio album in 15 years.

That record - entitled Nádúr, meaning 'nature' - was well represented in last night's set, with the likes of Vellum, Rhapsody na gCrann and TransAtlantic standing up against the five-piece's classic material.

Lead singer Moya Brennan's voice remains a thing of beauty, as does her magnificent harp playing.

Meanwhile, her brother Pól held things together with guitar, flute, tin whistle and harmony vocals.

The sound was at once earthly and ethereal, a deft blend of rock and Irish traditional. One disappointment was that Belfast singer-songwriter Duke Special wasn't in attendance to add his vocals to Brave Enough, one of the key tracks on Nádúr.

But a selection of memorable pieces from movie and TV soundtracks left long-time fans satisfied.

I Will Find You, from The Last Of The Mohicans, a medley of tunes from Robin of Sherwood and the theme from Harry's Game brought the evening to an end on a high, with Moya promising Clannad would return.

Some 44 years into their distinguished musical career, we should consider ourselves fortunate this important Irish outfit are not just still touring, but also still performing as potently as ever.

Four stars

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