Recorded in Germany in 1980, ‘Turas 1980’, a recently-discovered archive radio broadcast shines a light on an exciting period in Clannad’s history.
Two years before they would reach international stardom with ‘Theme From Harry’s Game’, it mostly covers material of their first three records. The setlist is full of rare delights and some familiar songs such as ‘Níl Sé’n Lá’ and ‘Dúlamán’, both of which have been a mainstay of the band’s live repertoire for many years.
With the majority of the material performed in Gaelic, the causal Clannad fan more familiar with their later work on television and film, may not immediately warm to this collection. True fans of the band will love it.
Haunting vocal harmonies abound on the record, especially on ‘Valparasio’ while the mischievous and the sometimes dark humour of Irish myths are explored in songs such as ‘Two Sisters’, ‘The Yellow Bittern’ and ‘The Old Couple’. Longtime fan favourite and a song that almost always brings a tear to this reviewer’s eye, ‘Down By The Sally Gardens’ is simply beautiful here.
With the band involved in putting this release together, the production is first class. The five musicians, having been road tested together over a ten year period, are tight and exciting to listen to.
Every note played is crystal clear and the music blends and intertwines with the band vocals perfectly. Moya Brennan is on fantastic form here as her vocals combine the beauty, power, and delicateness that would in time lead to her becoming known as the “First Lady of Celtic Music”. The jazz influence of Ciaran Brennan’s bass guitar stands out in the mix as an early indicator of the future styles the band would develop.
While the record will delight fans, it has also has special significance for the band as Moya Brennan explains:
This album is a lovely memory for us taking us back to early Clannad.
‘Turas 1980’ is an exciting record that showcases the band performing together at an exceptional level.
Clannad launch ‘Turas 1980’ in their native Gweedore, County Donegal on 13th July 2018 at a festival celebrating fifty years of Leo’s Tavern.
The record is now available to pre-order on Amazon.