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Clannad - Dúlamán CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.53 | 41 ratings

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5 stars Clannad's third album "Dúlamán" was released in 1976, and seen the original sound of Clannad reach its peak. This album was made before their worldwide popularity and also before Enya was even part of the band. Of course, we have the classic line up of the two families involved here, the Brennans and the O'Dugains, and they were all related, Marie being the central figure and main vocalist.

The album, like its two predecessors, consists of mostly Irish and Gaelic songs, some traditional and some original, and each given the love and care that made Clannad's sound so intoxicating.

The album starts off with the title track "Dulaman", sung in Gaelic, which is based on a traditional Irish song about the people that used to collect seaweed for staving off starvation among other things. The specific character in this track wishes to marry another Dulaman's daughter against his wishes, so they elope. Clannad's version begins with various members of the band singing a cappela with traditional instruments joining in later and the short verses sung by one of the male singers. The music is well constructed, becoming more involved as it goes on, and a nice flute solo is featured on the long instrumental break with light percussion added to give it all a forward driving feel. The traditional sound is quite evident and will remain so throughout the album, which is really the best way to experience Clannad anyway.

"Cumha Eoghain Rua Ui Neill" is a slow and sparse instrumental that pays homage to Owen Roe O'Neill who was a great military leader of the Irish rebellion of the 1640s who died a premature death after succumbing to an illness, and the country was left under the savage reign of Cromwell. The music is quite lovely and pensive with plenty of flute and mandolin. It is based on an old Irish lament that originally had lyrics. "Two Sisters" comes from an old English folk song that deals with jealousy over one man to the point that one of them pushes the other into the river. Marie sings this one in English, a cappella during the first verse, and then with minimal instrumentation. The music becomes more layered as it continues on, and becomes more rhythmic retaining the folk elements, staying true to its roots. Clannad's version is an abridgment of the traditional lyrics.

"Eirigh Suas A Stoirin (Rise Up, My Darling)" returns to the Gaelic lyrics again with Marie singing lead. This song is also about vain love, which seems to be a common theme of traditional Irish music. In this one, a love sick suitor tries to win over a girl's parents to gain a girl's hand, but he is refused and the words deal with his loss. Most of this is sung by Marie alone with acoustic guitar accompanying her, with bass added in later. The band also provides some choral like vocals towards the end. "The Galtee Hung" is an instrumental Irish dance song with harp and flute playing a lilting duet. Guitar and bass come in later to add more life to the song. "Eirigh Is Cuir Ort Do Chuid Eadaigh (Arise and Dress Yourself)" is based off of an old folk song with some alterations made to the lyrics by the band. Marie again sings in Gaelic about another unrequited love tale, this time it is told in the viewpoint of the female. The music has a nice forward movement which actually shows some variety in the sound as it continues and the bass becomes more prominent. It is a well constructed version with nice instrumental composition which adds the needed variety to the album, yet retains the authentic folk element.

"Siuil A Run (Come, Oh Love)" is a lament that comes from the times of the Irish Brigade which was made up of young men that left Ireland to serve in the French Army. It is from the viewpoint of a young woman who misses her lover. Surprisingly, parts of the track is sung in English with the remainder being sung in Gaelic, all by Marie. The track is simpler with the accompaniment being made up of mostly acoustic guitars. "Mo Mhaire" is about a girl named Marie, which seems appropriate for the band. The melody, sung by Marie again in Gaelic is a bit more upbeat than the last track and has a familiar ring to it, but the accompaniment remains simple and without percussion, leaving the rhythm to be accented by the other instruments. "d'Tigeas a Damhsa" is a child's dance song sung totally a cappella with Marie leading the rest of the band and is a short track. The last track "Cucanandy/The Jug of Brown Ale" is a combination of two Irish instrumentals twined together by a short Gaelic phrase sung by the group in the middle of the track.

This is the Clannad that is the most folkish, the earlier albums being the most simple and faithful to the Irish sound. Yet, it was with the addition of pop elements that helped make the band more successful, sometimes to the music's benefit and other times to its detriment. But this simple, somewhat naïve sound is what give the band its heart and believability. In Dulaman, the band has worked out its kinks of the earlier albums and made a perfect Irish folk album. Yes, the band would still have some excellent albums to come, albeit sort of sporadically, but this one shows them while they are still faithful to the roots of their music and at their best as far as true folk music goes.

TCat | 5/5 |


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