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Clannad - Christ Church Cathedral

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One of the seminal groups of modern Celtic music, the five-member family group Clannad is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. With that much time under their belts it's impossible for any one show to truly represent their body of work but the 22-song set presented here in the group's first-ever live DVD ends up being very satisfying.

Singer and harp player Moya Brennan is the focal point of much of the show; playing a delicate harp solo on "Eleanor Plunkett," singing a cappella and in Gaelic on "Mhaire Bruineall" and interpreting lots of traditional Irish folk songs throughout.

The band's own "Na Buachaillí A'lainn" is performed with a traditional bent but the also self-penned "Newgrange," a highlight here, has the band sounding a bit proggy like vintage Annie Haslam-led Renaissance. "Robin of Sherwood," a medley of songs from the Robin television program and the "Theme From Harry's Game" are also performed but the show's most stunning moment comes when the 15-member choral group Anúna joins Clannad via a slow processional up the church's aisle to the stage, all the while singing "Media Vita."

Anúna stays on for the rest of the show that ultimately climaxes with the drinking song "Níl Sé Ina Lá" and "Teidhir Abhaile Riú."

This isn't Flogging Molly; there's nothing rowdy here. But if you want to hear Celtic music as it's been traditionally played for generations you can't do any better than Clannad. Christ Church Cathedral, filmed in Dublin, is also available on CD with a slightly different song selection.


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