By David Hennessy
The band who brought Irish folk music to a wider audience and have the Grammy and BAFTA awards to prove it are back.
Fresh from performing at Belfast Waterfront with the Ulster Orchestra for St. Patrick’s Day, Clannad went on to dates in London, Norwich, Manchester and Guildford this.
Ciaran, Pol and Moya Brennan and their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan make up the that band was first established back in 1970 and which has only recently got back on the road after a long break.
The Irish World spoke to Pol Brennan, who plays flute, guitar and bongos, and asked how the band is enjoying their current tour: “It’s great actually, we’ve been on the road since September with breaks. We took on the states in September/October/November and then broke for Christmas and then went around Europe for six weeks in January/February and here’s where we are now. It’s good fun.”
After leaving the band in 1990, Pol rejoined in 2011 for a historic reunion of all five of the band’s original members at Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral: “Ciaran was always kind of saying: ‘Come back, let’s do stuff’. And we’ve tried it over numerous years, the last six or seven years I’ve been at many meetings with my brother, Moya and timing wise and stuff like that, it never worked. We actually had a meeting well before the Christ Church gig and we just said: ‘Look, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen now’. Then the gig was looming and it really focused us on going back to go forward and that’s why we went back to the very beginning, stripped it right back to those early albums. We all went and chose different songs and stuff like that. We had 70 songs to whittle down into a programme but once that project was up and we did it, it was very clear that we all really wanted to give it a go this time.”
It was a reunion that meant so much to the band’s followers who will be delighted to hear work has started on an album of new material: “We’ve kind of been working on it, on and off, for the last nine months or a year with touring and this, that and the other. Just Ciaran and myself writing for the first time after 20 years, we’re just kind of enjoying it, we want the next album to be special. Earlier on we were thinking: ‘Ah, we’ll throw this out but as we’ve written and as we’ve taken time to review what we’re doing, it looks like we’ll be recording it around the end of May. It should be out for September, October.”
For the full interview, see the March 23 edition of The Irish World