Monday, April 05, 2010

The Clancy Legacy

The Clancy Legacy

There's both an openness and connection that lives through the music when Irish music is shared with friends and family. Those are gifts that cousins Robbie O’Connell, Aoife Clancy, and Donal Clancy have translated well in the recording of their first album together as a group.

They’ve chosen songs and tunes from the tradition, both familiar and lesser known ones. Robbie takes the lead voice on the opener, the happy story of man and maid and reminiscence told in Jug of Punch. Aoife steps to the fore with a gorgeous job on the lament Ho Re Ho Ro, and Donal’s guitar leads the way through a set including Breton Tune, Lillies in the Field, and The Limestone Rock. Love songs, story songs, songs with a twist of humour, and additional tunes comprise the rest of the set on the recording. Top notch singing, very fine playing, and well chosen songs and tunes, and the warmth of that family connection, mark this as a collection that rises to the top of current traditional recordings.

Not that you’d expect any less, really, from O’Connell, Clancy, and Clancy. Each of them has excellent solo albums out. Robbie is well respected for his songwriting, Aoife is known as a top notch singer, and Donal is rated as one of the best guitarists working in Irish music. In their individual careers, they’ve worked with top artists and bands in traditional music, symphony orchestras, heritage centers, television programs, and festivals across the world. They are also each part of one of the best known families in Irish music.

It has been nearly five decades since the Clancy Brothers, white sweaters, theatrical humour, Irish ballads and all, burst upon the world stage. They brought Irish music into the folk music revival in the United States. Their work influenced folk revival superstars including Bob Dylan and Carolyn Hester, and brought Irish music out of the pubs and back rooms and in to the festivals and arts centers. Robbie was for a time part of the group with his uncles. Aoife and Donal at one time or another shared stages with their famous fathers (Bobby and Liam, respectively) as well.

Several years ago, the three musicians were invited to get together for a show called The Clancy Legacy. It was meant to be a one off thing, but it went over so well that there was demand for more gigs, and over time, calls of “when are the three of you going to record an album together?” The recording is well worth the time it took for them to get to it.

Side note: the production is just enough to frame the three artists’ music gracefully. Those who sit in include George Keith on fiddle, Erik Wendelken on bass, Derek Pisano on keyboards, and two artists you’ve met before here along the music road, Oisin McAuley on fiddle and Shannon Heaton on whistles and flute.

you may also wish to see

Music Road: Aoife Clancy: Silvery Moon
Music Road: Voices: Donal Clancy
Music Road: The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem at Carnegie Hall
Music Road: Another Fine Winter's Night: Matt & Shannon Heaton

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous jessiev said...

WHAT a wonderful cd! and i can't wait to listen. sometimes the stars align just so and we get the benefit! thanks, kerry.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Alexandra Grabbe said...

Great post! Amazing that a CD can showcase three artists who had solo careers beforehand and do each of them justice.

7:38 PM  

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