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Clannad Magical Ring album cover
4.46 | 25 ratings | 3 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Theme from Harry's Game (2:29)
2. Tower Hill (3:53)
3. Seachrán Charn Tsiail (2:21)
4. Passing Time (3:45)
5. Coinleach Glas An Fhómhair (5:58)
6. I See Red (4:25)
7. Tá 'Mé Mo Shuí (3:13)
8. Newgrange (4:05)
9. The Fairy Queen (2:41)
10. Thíos Fá'n Chósta (3:16)

Total Time 36:06

Bonus track on 2003 remaster:
11. Coinleach Glas An Fhómhair (chill-out remix by Cantoma) (6:20)

Line-up / Musicians

- Máire Brennan / vocals, harp
- Noel Duggan / guitar, vocals
- Pádraig Duggan / guitar, vocals
- Pól Brennan / flute, guitar, percussion, vocals
- Ciarán Brennan / double bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals

- Pádraig O'Donnell / vocals
- Ed Deane / electric guitar solo
- James Delaney / keyboards
- Alan Dunn / accordion
- Charlie Morgan / drums
- Frank Ricotti / percussion

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Rob O'Connor with Nick Yates (photo)

LP Tara ‎- TARA 3010 (1983, Ireland)
LP BMG ‎- 88985459651 (2017, Europe)

CD RCA ‎- 66305-2 (1983, Canada)
CD RCA ‎- PD70003 (1986, Europe)
CD BMG ‎- 82876 545032 (2003, Europe) Remastered by Ian Cooper with a bonus track, new cover

Thanks to kenethlevine for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CLANNAD Magical Ring ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CLANNAD Magical Ring reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
5 stars With "Magical Ring", CLANNAD opened their arms wide to technology, and harnessed a symbiotic blend of the ancient and the modern. It also includes one of the most stunning album openers of any era, "Theme from Harry's Game", from a 1982 British mini series. Whatever you are doing when the proverbial stylus tentatively reaches its first grooves, "Harry's Game" has more than enough dynamic gentility to stop you in your tracks. Never mind that it essentially formed the blueprint for ENYA's mega successful formula; this is where the public first heard the floating choral melody atop amorphous keys. It's sung in Gaelic, but the chorus sounds like "Follow the Door, Fol' the day". Make no mistake - this is authentic Gaelic music made relevant again, and it would reverberate across the North Channel in RUNRIG classics like "An Ubhal as Airde". It reached an astounding #5 on the UK singles charts and helped "Magical Ring" become the first of many Clannad LPs to chart, Its reissue on 1990s releases and its use in, of all spots, a Volkswagon commercial, helped Clannad attain its highest chart placements in the New World.

What of the rest of "Magical Ring"? In a word, magical. "Tower Hill" extends the haunting atmosphere with an unsettling blend of metaphorical lyrics, double bass, male vocals, and flute. "Passing Time" is another brilliant original piece, but here synthesizers dance about the whistles and strummed guitars, contributing to a lighter mood. "I see Red" was written by GERRY RAFFERTY's brother Jim, and blends the warmer and more chilling aspects of the two aforementioned pieces, adding in a more distinct and catchier chorus, allowing it to chart as well, albeit modestly. The same applies to "Newgrange", an ode to prehistoric site of rock formations built around 3200 BC. Producer Richard Dodd has to be credited for his ability to wring out more substance from the near silence in between iterations of the Gaelic chorus than many can liberate over a 40 minute album. The jazziest and most rocking track is "Thios Fa'n Chosta" which closes the album, dominated by a steady rhythm driven by piano, drums, and a surprising lead guitar solo. It turns out that, apart from a few moments in 1987's "Sirius", this trajectory was rarely followed subsequently.

The traditional pieces are still here, including a more atmospheric remake of "Coinleach Ghlas an Fhómhair", but they are now overshadowed by the original and interpreted works still suffused with antiquity, Hence, "Magical Ring" celebrates a near perfect union and the point at which Clannad resolutely advanced Irish folk music forever. It's also arguably their most progressive album, at a time, may I remind you, when "mainstream" prog had been largely abandoned, Those folkies always were a brave and subversive lot.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Clannad had a strange breakthrough when they were called on to provide a bespoke theme tune to Harry's Game. This was a miniseries on British television about the Troubles in Northern Ireland - a worthy and thoughtful enough bit of television, but to be honest it's the Clannad song everyone remembers about it, with its mournful passages sung over the closing titles adding a suitably sombre note to proceedings.

Indeed, the song's had something of an extensive life of its own after that - having appeared in other movies and adverts and been covered regularly enough to become something of a standard, and even spearheading the band's burst of popularity in the USA after a rerelease in 1992 ahead of the US issue of the Anam album.

But it's perhaps best appreciated here, at the start of Magical Ring, since it heralds the overall approach taken by the band following the departure of Enya and longtime producer Nicky Ryan - a delicious mixture of even more prominent New Age synthesiser work with Irish folk instrumentation and rhythms, creating an intoxicating, timeless mixture. The overall style had a brief run of popularity - Clannad were called on to do more television work for Robin of Sherwood which became the Legend album, for instance, and there'd even be a few imitators popping up here and there (such as Chameleon, TV music specialists who produced soundtrack material for the likes of The One Game and Summer's Lease), but I don't think it was ever captured better than it was here.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The band conquers an international success - and it's clearly seen (I mean heard...) that they work hard for it. On the other hand, a new musical era begins for Clannad. Authentic folky sound is replaced by ethereal instrumentation and 'hollow', resonant choir vocalization, traditional repertoir ... (read more)

Report this review (#1953866) | Posted by proghaven | Wednesday, August 1, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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