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Clannad Crann Ull album cover
3.28 | 11 ratings | 3 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ar A Ghabhail'n A'Chuain Damh (3:26)
2. Tis The Last Rose Of Summer (4:14)
3. Cruiscin Lan (2:32)
4. Bacach Shile Andai (2:32)
5. Lá Coimhthioch Fan Dtuath (A Strange Day In The Country Side) (3:48)
6. Crann Ull (3:44)
7. Gathering Mushrooms (2:37)
8. An Buinnean Bui (4:14)
9. Planxty Browne (4:15)

Total Time: 31:22

Line-up / Musicians

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

- Enya Brennan / percussion, keyboards, backing vocals (7)

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

Releases information

Title translates as "Apple Tree"

Artwork: Eleisa Röhner

LP Tara ‎- TARA 3007 (1980, Ireland)

CD Tara ‎- TARA 3007 (1988, Ireland) New cover
CD Castle Communications ‎- TARACD3007 (2000, Australia) New cover

Thanks to kenethlevine for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CLANNAD Crann Ull ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CLANNAD Crann Ull reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars It took almost 4 years for CLANNAD to follow up "Dulaman" with another studio album, an eternity in those days. The gap was partially filled with several major tours and a live disk populated mostly with pieces hitherto unavailable on the first 3 LPs. "Crann Ull" is the first in a series of transitional albums between the jazz tinged Celtic folk of the 1970s and the ambient prog tinged folk rock of the late 1980s, but it's a baby step, which is a perfect segue to introducing baby sister Enya to the band, although her role remained limited during her two album sojourn, particularly here. Like "Clannad in Concert", this was produced by Nicky Ryan, who maintained a long association with Enya's solo career, and whose interest in electronica began to transform the musical lexicon of both acts.

Not surprisingly, it's here that Clannad first begins to sound slick and, at times, staid. While the blend of Maire's versatile voice and Enya's keyboards does generate chemistry on the opening cut, and the instrumental "A Strange Day in the Countryside" fulfills the promise of its title and more, the overall effect is too subdued for its own good. Most of the rest of the tracks pale next to the focus of the first 3 albums, and fans discovering "Crann Ull" some years later also had the benefit of hearing these embryonic ideas brought to fruition on "Fuaim" and "Magical Ring".

This is still alluring music; that's a given with most of Clannad's output from any era, but beauty and timidity struggle to consummate, one being unwilling to give, the other unable. I recommend holding out for the tastier apples about to ripen on the branches of this family tree

Review by TCat
3 stars "Crann Ull" (Apple Tree) is the fourth studio album released by the Folk Prog band Clannad, and as such it was released before the band had gained notoriety in the US, so it is mostly made up of traditional Irish music with the songs mostly in Irish language and very little English. These early albums reflected what Clannad was about in their original incarnation, a quintet made up of brothers, sisters and their twin uncles. On this album, Nicky Ryan wanted to invite another sister to join because of her knowledge of electronic instruments and for additional vocals. The sister's name was Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, better known later as Enya. This was the first album she would appear on with Clannad, but only as a guest, and only as a supporting singer on "Gathering Mushrooms" while providing percussion and keyboards on other tracks.

"Ar A Ghabhail'n A'Chuain Damh" (As I Went to the Harbor) starts off the album with Clannad's version of an old Irish folk song which contains some complex rhythms and different time signatures and a melody that varies between the odd and even numbered verses, of which there are six. The vocals start immediately with Maire's voice accompanied by acoustic guitars and bass and occasional vocal harmonies. The song is a moderate beat. As the song continues into an extended, instrumental last half, electric piano and flute join in and the song becomes more rhythmic. With the keys helping to carry the instrumental part, we have are first indications of the modernization of their sound, yet many probably wouldn't notice because it is rather subtle. This is followed by the song based on a poem by the Irish poet Thomas Moore, "The Last Rose of Summer". The music is simple and pastoral with strong English vocals and some harmonization, acoustic guitars and some flute, plus again, the subtle use of synths.

"Cruiscin Lan" (Full Little Jug) is another traditional Irish song. Clannad's version stays quite faithful to the original, the focus is on the vocals, and the instrumentation stays simple with acoustic guitar and some harmonization. "Bacach Shile Andai" is an original song by the band and is sung by one of the male vocalists, but I'm not sure who. It has the attitude of a bar song, joyful and lilting, with a definite traditional sound. "Lá Coimhthioch Fan Dtuath" (A Strange Day In The Country Side) is another original Clannad composition. The song is instrumental starting off with guitar and harp playing solo and other time supporting each other. A sudden change in the middle that seems somewhat abrupt seems to feature mandolin and then the original theme returns at the end with some wordless vocals.

The title track "Crann Ull" comes next . Maire sings in Gaelic joined later by background vocalists. The song is again from an old song and after the vocals, features some nice pastoral instrumentals with harp, acoustic guitar and flute before the simple vocals return. "Gathering Mushrooms" is another original track which includes Enya as a supporting singer. The song is a jaunty track and seems to be a bit bawdy. It's the 2nd of two songs sung in English on this album. There is very subtle percussion on this one, but it is one of the happier sounding tracks of the album.

"An Buinnean Bui" (The Yellow Bittern) is a peaceful Gaelic song, again a traditional song with words written by a 17th century poet who upon seeing a dead bird by a lake, assumes that the bird died of thirst trying to get to the lake, so the narrator vows to never stop drinking. With the melancholic sound of this track, you wouldn't think it wouldn't have a irreverent theme. But, it is the Irish after all. The last track of this somewhat short album is "Planxty Browne" which was originally written for harp by the famous harpist Turlough O'Carolan, who Clannad has borrowed from before. Clannad add the help of acoustic guitar and, again, subtle use of MIDI and some flute.

This album is probably one of Clannad's most traditional sounding folk albums, and may not hold the interest of many listeners because of the use of Irish/Gaelic language and traditional tunes. Even the original songs sound quite traditional. Out of their earliest albums, it is probably one with the least amount of variety, and even with the addition of Enya's keyboards, it still sounds less modern than probably any of their albums. Hard core traditionalists and folk music lovers will enjoy it however. Maire's vocals are not as heartfelt as some of their other albums either, the album seems to come across as having been done too quickly, without much variation from the traditional sound except for a few nice sections where the instrumental sections have been extended to give more personality to the songs. Anyway, it's probably one of the bands weaker moments, but it does represent the album where Enya makes her debut.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A return to Clannad 2? Unfortunately yes. Though the opening track, Ar A Ghabhail'n A'Chuain Damh, gives an intrigue, it starts like a typical Irish folk song but soon transforms into an instrumental piece with jazzy percussion and even electric piano. But after that... the Celtic tradition rule ... (read more)

Report this review (#1953868) | Posted by proghaven | Wednesday, August 1, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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