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Album Review

On their first album in three years, Clannad turn in another set that combines the group's traditional Irish background with elements of Western pop and world music. Five of the 11 songs contain at least some English lyrics, but the most contemporary-sounding track is "Seanchas," which, though its lyrics are in Gaelic, could pass for a Peter Gabriel track. Lore features many high-pitched sounds, from saxophone to tin whistle and Uilleann pipes, with lots of synthesized equivalents, all supporting the lush choral parts that surround singer Máire Brennan. Brennan's breathy soprano is a cross between Judy Collins and Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA, and she suggests the latter especially when she is singing in English in a plaintive but slightly distanced way, phrasing oddly as if she had learned the words phonetically. Lore doesn't contain any individual tracks as memorable as "Harry's Game" or "In a Lifetime" (which is what the group would need to consolidate its success in the U.S.), but it is more of the same from musicians who have established an identifiable sound as their own. [This version of the album includes the "Cantoma Mix" of "Crói Cróga" as a bonus track.]


Formed: 1970 in Donegal, Ireland

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Clannad bridged the gap between traditional Celtic music and pop. Usually, their results were an entrancing, enchanting form of pop that managed to fuse the disparate elements together rather seamlessly. Such fusions have earned the band an international cult of fans. Taking their name from the Gaelic word for "family," Clannad formed in 1970 when the Brennan family -- Maire (vocals, harp), Ciaran (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), Pol (guitar, percussion, flute, vocals) -- began playing at their...
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Lore, Clannad
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