Clannad performing their In a Lifetime The Farewell Tour at the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Tuesday 10th March 2020

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Clannad, a band widely recognised for putting Irish traditional music and the Irish language on the world stage are finally hanging up their harps and harmonies after fifty years and stopped off at the Royal Concert Hall last night to say goodbye.

Founding member Padraig Duggan passed away in 2006 but his brother Noel and the Brennan siblings, Moya, Ciaran and Pol are carrying the flag along with the next generation of Brennans who are also on the touring team.

Delivering an extensive set list that reflected upon an eclectic mix of traditional folksongs played on traditional instruments such as the harp, flute, and mandolin, they opened the first half with the delightful An Mhaighdean Mhara.

With their unique brand of songs presented a capella or simply with acoustic backing, there was a celebration of their gently evolving career. Binding all of their styles together was their glorious soaring lush harmonies that captivated this crowd, regardless of the genre of the song.

With the likes of Thios Chois Na Tra Domh and Coinleach Ghlas An Fhomhair, piercing through those harmonies was the voice of Moya Brennan which swirled around the Hall in magnificent form.

It was the moody mysticism of Newgrange and the soothing Celtic sound of a suite of tracks from the Robin Of Sherwood sound track that brought the first half to an end.

For the second half, Clannad continued to deliver songs that were austere, poignant, earthly and intimate and with many sung in English, they upped the tempo a little. Hourglass and new song A Celtic Dream were very well received whilst the drinking song Nil Se’n La highlighted their instrumental prowess.

But undoubtedly their most powerful instrument has always been their blended harmonies, exquisitely showcased on the utterly haunting Theme From Harry’s Game which was simply breathtaking in its purity, and the powerful harmonies of In A Lifetime were mesmerising.

Last night’s concert had been in keeping with Clannad’s unique style and the songs, the arrangements and the performance had been a joy to listen too.