Clannad (derived from the word clan meaning ‘family’ in Gaelic) was formed in 1970 by siblings Moya, Ciarán and Pól Brennan and their uncles Noel and Pádraig Duggan (who sadly passed away in 2016), and for a short time later became a six-piece with the addition of Enya Brennan who then went on to have her own successful solo career. The multi-award winning band have, without doubt, done more than any other group to take Irish music and the Irish language to a worldwide audience. Fusing elements of traditional Irish music and more contemporary folk, new age and rock they have created a beautifully unique and ethereal sound which combines haunting melodies and mesmerising vocals to transcend the sands of time whilst appealing to a worldwide audience of all ages.
After a decade which saw them release five hugely influential and groundbreaking albums, in 1982 Clannad reached wider recognition when they recorded Theme From Harry’s Game for a powerful three-part TV drama depicting the troubles in Northern Ireland. The song became a commercial success upon its release as a single, peaking at number 2 in Ireland and number 5 in the UK, winning an Ivor Novello award and later being used in the movie Patriot Games. It remains the only UK hit single to be sung entirely in Irish.
In addition to the incredible achievements of this one, timeless song, in 1984 Clannad won a BAFTA for ‘Best Original Television Music’ for their soundtrack ‘Legend’ (becoming the first Irish band to win it), which featured music and songs the band were commissioned to score for the Robin Of Sherwood TV series. In the two decades since the band has won a Grammy Award (‘Best New Age Album’ for 1999’s Landmarks), Billboard Music Award, and a BBC 2 Folk Award (for Lifetime Achievement).
Clannad has collaborated with a diverse range of artists, including Bruce Hornsby, Steve Perry, JD Souther, Paul Young, and Duke Special but their most successful collaboration by far was with enthusiastic supporter and fan, Bono of U2. A fan of the band who declared singer Moya as “one of the greatest voices the human ear as ever experienced,” Bono duetted with the singer on Clannad’s 1985 hit single – and the song which gives this collection its title – In A Lifetime.