Donal Clancy

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Donal Clancy is the son of Liam Clancy, one of the famous Clancy Brothers who brought Irish folk songs to a worldwide audience in the '60s and '70s. Donal picked up the guitar as a child after experimenting with both whistle and mandolin, and found himself hooked immediately. He has since gone on to success as a session guitarist and as a member of the touring bands behind such eminent artists as Kevin Crawford, Cathie Ryan and the Chieftains. His first solo album finds him working in a spare and unadorned style, playing both fingerstyle and with a flatpick, and sometimes overdubbing harmony and counterpoint parts on guitar or bouzouki (as well as layering on the occasional bodhran beat). The program consists of traditional tunes learned from a variety of sources, some of which will be familiar to lovers of Celtic music ("Repeal of the Union," "Old Hag You Have Killed Me," the gorgeous Turlough O'Carolan harp piece "Lord Inchiquin") and others less so -- "The Nomad," for example, is a dark and lovely slower tune, and "Helvic Head" is a beautiful jig from the An Rinn area, where Donal Clancy grew up. His arrangements of the slow airs offer what are perhaps the most impressive moments on this album, particularly his beautiful renditions of "Seán Ó Duibhir Á Ghleanna" and the heartbreakingly bittersweet "Castles of Dromore." Highly recommended.

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