Music review: Clannad/Mary Black, Glasgow

Clannad, in concert. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Clannad, in concert. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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AFTER a distinguished career of more than 30 years, this shared tour is to be Mary Black’s swansong. Sadly, on Thursday night it was quickly evident why.

Clannad/Mary Black

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

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The voice once so pure that What Hi-Fi magazine reportedly used it as a benchmark for comparing sound quality is now husky and wavering, no longer quite able to sustain all the notes.

Yet her assured phrasing and confident stage presence helped make her opening hour work, giving poignancy to songs like Golden Mile and Song For Ireland, which she introduced by talking about how music has bolstered her country in hard times.

Clannad then took to the stage where, in 2007, they reunited a decade after going their separate ways.

Now firmly established as a band again, they’ve just released an album, Nadur, the first in 24 years from the original line-up of the three Brennan siblings and their twin uncles.

New tracks like the sacred chant-like Vellum, country-ish Brave Enough – which offsets generic lyrics with a clipped beat and soaring vocals – and the call-and-response on traditional air Turas Dhómhsa chon na Galldachd, show that the break hasn’t altered their taste for playing around with genres old and new.

Naturally, the soundtrack tunes which made their name appeared too, with a lively medley of music from Robin Of Sherwood, the haunting Theme From Harry’s Game and I Will Find You, from Last Of The Mohicans, as well as their song with Bono, In A Lifetime.

The encore saw Black and her band join Clannad for a cheerful, mob-handed rendition of a Donegal drinking song.

Seen on 13.03.14