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The Long Awaited Return of CLANNAD - NZ Tour 2013

The Long Awaited Return of CLANNAD - NZ Tour 2013

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For immediate release
Clannad - New Zealand Tour 2013

Moya Brennan has one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced.”

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Clannad, the Irish family group responsible for such timeless music as ‘Theme From Harry’s Game’, ‘In A Lifetime’, ‘I Will Find You’ and the soundtrack to the ‘Robin Of Sherwood’ TV series, make a long awaited return to New Zealand in October 2013 to mark their 40th Anniversary.  It has been 18 years since the legendary Celtic folk heroes toured New Zealand

Ethereal and otherworldly, Clannad makes music to be transported by. Haunting ballads and virtuosic musicianship that conjures a captivating echo of Ireland past. Framed by Moya Brennan’s heavenly voice, their music carries the listener across oceans and aeons to a time when a proud culture was first born.  Clannad’s groundbreaking fusion of traditional Celtic music with modern folk and rock needs almost no introduction, having created a genre almost to itself – a sound at the crest of the ‘world music’ wave that surged across the globe in the 80s and 90s.

Clannad have given a unique voice to modern Irish music. They have combined a deep love of traditional strains with a bold approach to writing and recording. Their legacy is a hugely impressive collection from 18 albums, touching on folk, rock, ambient, jazz and world music. Many of these records have featured lyrics in their native Gaelic tongue, while others have been performed in English. Either way, those vocals have plugged directly into the popular imagination.

They grew up in Donegal, in the secluded north-west of Ireland.  Moya, Pol and Ciaran Brennan sang and played from an early age in their father's bar, Leo's Tavern. Their twin uncles, Padraig and Noel Duggan joined them, winning a talent contest in Letterkenny in 1970. Their first album, CLANNAD was released in 1973.

Their trademark sound began to develop over the course of the first six albums. Taking near forgotten traditional Irish songs, often in their native Gaelic language, bringing new arrangements to them, and creating a unique vocal harmony sound. Throughout this period they toured extensively across Europe. Towards the end of the seventies they recruited their younger sister in on piano and harmony vocals. She worked on two albums and several tours with them before going on to establish her own highly successful solo career as Enya.

“It’s hard to go wrong with Clannad… The gorgeous melodies, celestial harmonies, and ancient spirituality remain resplendent throughout.”
Austin Chronicle

'Theme From Harry's Game' was released in 1982. Radio programmers and audiences were captivated by the dense harmonies and the Gaelic words. It leapt to Top 5 in the UK charts. The 'Magical Ring' album followed in 1983, and by now brothers Pol and Ciaran were writing evocative and powerful music. This was furthered on 'Legend' a soundtrack commissioned for the television series, 'Robin Of Sherwood' in 1984. During this period, the band received numerous awards including an Ivor Novello and a BAFTA Award for Best Original Television Music for their groundbreaking work on this album.

The band regrouped in Dublin to work on their next album ‘Macalla’. During a break in recording one evening the band retired to the nearby pub for some refreshment. There they happened to bump into another regular, Bono. Having just released ‘The Unforgettable Fire’, U2 were, by this stage, well on their way to being the global phenomenon they are. Bono had been an enthusiastic supporter of the band since hearing Harry’s Game on the radio, describing it as ‘the sound of angels’. U2 even adopted the track as the music they would walk onstage to in their live shows, a feature that was shown in their highly successful TV and DVD concert film ‘Under A Blood Red Sky’.

After a pint and a chat, Bono was keen to come back to the studio with them to listen to what they were working on. They had just begun on a new song and were still working on ideas for the verses. Over the next few hours the idea began to emerge of Bono dueting on the song with Moya. The next evening they all met up again in the studio, with newly written lyrics, and recorded ‘In A Lifetime’. The song had a rockier edge than a lot of their previous material but still featured the ethereal vocal style they had made their own. Bono performed, what many would argue, one of his greatest ever, vocal recordings. The song went on to become a huge radio hit across the world and still sounds as fresh today as it did then.

'Past Present’, released in 1989 brought the music of Clannad to an even bigger audience. Summarising their first four albums it became a much-loved fixture in the UK chart eventually going Top 5. This was followed in the same year by Clannad's first soundtrack work on an animation, 'Angel And The Soldier Boy'.

Moya, Padriag and Noel were writing more now, supplementing Ciaran's work. The latter was also honing his skills as a producer. Their 'Anam' album made the top 20 in 1990. 'Theme From Harry's Game' featured on the 1992 film Patriot Games, featuring Harrison Ford, raising the band's profile again in America. The band's music was increasingly in demand for soundtrack work, appearing on Last Of The Mohicans, (1992) and Message In A Bottle (1999).

They released the albums 'Lore' (1996) and the Grammy Award winning 'Landmarks' (1998), again proving that no other act had such a distinctive imprint, such a variety of style and tone. It was time, they sensed, to pursue other projects, with the full knowledge that family business would resume in the near future.

They came back together, professionally, in 2007 to be presented with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in Ireland’s version of the BRIT awards. Over the next few years they would undertake the odd concert or festival appearances.

In 2011 they were asked to perform a concert at Dublin’s historic Christ Church Cathedral. Being in such an intimate setting they chose for the program to lean heavily on their early traditional material, as the acoustic nature of these tracks would suit the surroundings well. With this in mind they invited Pol to join them for the shows which due to demand turned into three consecutive nights.  The concerts were a huge success and this step of ‘going back to go forward’ brought renewed enthusiasm for all of them to do more together. They undertook more festivals and shows together across Europe and then in 2012 began writing together for a new album.

Prior to recording they embarked on an American and European tour, their most extensive tour in a long time. Coming back from that and feeling fully match fit, they began the recording of what will be their first full studio album since 1998’s Landmarks and the first to feature all five original members since 1988’s Sirius!

Nádúr (gaelic for nature) will be released worldwide in September 2013 and contain 14 brand new songs written by the group. The tour will feature some of these songs debuted live along with songs from all across their forty year career.

For this close-knit group, their musical journey is both remarkable in its personal accomplishment and historic in its contributions to Irish culture. It is indeed fascinating to consider that what today is so widely regarded as Celtic music was first called "Clannad music." There is perhaps no greater testament to the impact of this groundbreaking group than that.

Now, after over four decades, 18 albums, 15 million record sales and a slew of industry awards to their name, Grammy Award winning Clannad finally return to New Zealand with a new tour and CD.


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