Clannad's rich heritage is as deep as their own roots in rugged, secluded Donegal, the most northwestern county in Ireland, and their hometown of Gaoth Dobhar (pronounced 'Gweedore'). They were originally known as An Clann as Dobhar, 'the family from the townland of Dore,' which was compacted to Clannad. The five-member group comprises the three Brennan siblings, Moya, Ciaran and Pol along with their twin uncles, Padraig and Noel Duggan.
Between 1973 and 1980, they recorded six traditional albums, each of which helped to shape and refine the band's now unmistakable sound. In 1979 and '80, they were joined by their younger sister Enya – the fifth of the nine Brennan siblings – on keyboards and background vocals for two albums, Crann Ull and Fuiam. before leaving to embark on her multi-platinum solo career.
In 1982, Clannad recorded "Theme from Harry's Game" for the Granada series of the same title set in Northern Ireland. The song hit #5 on the UK chart and won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Soundtrack from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, the UK's most prestigious music honor. (The song was also nominated for the British BAFTA Award that year for Best Television Music.) It was included on Clannad's album, The Magical Ring (1983), which became their first gold-selling disc in the UK. Years later the song brought them success in America when it was used in a major advertising campaign for Volkswagen.
Clannad also created the music for the highly popular UK television series "Robin Of Sherwood," which aired from 1984-86. Their Legend album was compiled from the soundtrack music which won the BAFTA Award for Best Original Television Music of 1984.
Clannad's growing worldwide popularity brought U2's Bono into the studio to record "In a Lifetime" with them, a top 20 UK single included on their 1986 album, Macalla. Encouraged by Jackson Browne and members of Toto, Clannad recorded their next album in Los Angeles. Sirius (1987), co-produced by Russ Kunkel and Greg Ladanyi, included guests J.D. Souther, Steve Perry of Journey, Bruce Hornsby, and others. The album led to Clannad's first world tour the following year and two high-profile UK soundtrack albums: Atlantic Realm (1988, for a BBC documentary about the Atlantic Ocean) and The Angel And the Soldier Boy (1989, for a short animated film).
1990-91 was a breakthrough year for Clannad, hinged on the success of their album Anam, which included "Ri Na Cruinne (King Of The Universe)," composed overnight (literally) for the global One World One Voice campaign. Filmed and broadcast by the BBC to an international audience estimated at 200 million, One World One Voice put Clannad in the company of Afrika Bambaataa, Laurie Anderson, Peter Gabriel, Gipsy Kings, the Kodo drummers of Japan, the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra, Lou Reed, Sting, and others. Released on Atlantic in 1992, Anam's success was assured as it added both "In a Lifetime" (with Bono) and "Theme from Harry's Game" to the tracklist. "Ri Na Cruinne" subsequently won the Billboard Music Award for World Music Song Of the Year.
The four Atlantic album releases continued with Banba (1993, Clannad's first Grammy Award®-nominated album, including "I Will Find You" from the movie The Last Of the Mohicans); Lore (1996, their second Grammy Award® nomination, including "Croi Croga," originally written for Braveheart); and Landmarks (1998). The latter won Clannad their first Grammy Award® (Best New Age Album), and was the last record they released together as a group before embarking on various solo projects that continue to this day. In 2007, Clannad received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Ireland's Meteor Awards.
With worldwide sales of more than 10 million records, Clannad has captivated an audience throughout the World After 14 years they are finally back in the studio working on a brand new Clannad album for release in September.
It is fascinating to consider that what today is so widely regarded as Celtic music was first called "Clannad music." There is perhaps no greater testament to the impact of this groundbreaking group than that simple fact. It all begins with Clannad.