“Colum did a synopsis of his new book TransAtlantic that we set to music. He had an afternoon off after promoting his book in Dublin. We sent him an idea for a melody. We didn’t expect a synopsis of the book. But that’s what he came out with and it was written as a ballad.” “I went westward toward another war and I knew what my eyes were fighting for/I watched my boy/look out for my son/he is so very young/look out for my son/my blood and bone,” Moya sings atop a mournful flute-driven melody. It is a beautiful ballad about emigration that stands among the group’s best work.
“It was lovely to go with this direction,” she says of the track. “From an artist to an artist you’re mature enough to make that happen. Colum came in with a bundle of words. We edited it down and just sang it bit by bit.”
“Turas Domhsa chon na Galldachd” is classic Clannad — ethereal Gaelic poetry sung in otherworldly harmonies, a muted bagpipe in the distance providing that extra tingle to the spine.
While the past is referenced in the new music, Clannad wisely chose not to dwell on it.
On “The Fishing Blues,” southern fried harmonica bounces along with acoustic strumming and a playful bass line that makes a Southern Comfort cocktail just that.
“Donegal is a big fishing county and the fisherman are having a hard time at the moment,” Moya says.
“The song supports them. Killybegs is the only working fishing port in Ireland. We know loads of families that lost people to the sea. The industry is going down so fast and we wanted to call attention to that.”
Moya and the lads had just returned from the Irish Embassy in London the night before our interview, and she was still lit up by the reception she got.
“Last night we went onstage and sung three songs,” she explains. “When we meet, we have no arguments at all when we are putting our set list together. We knew intuitively where we grew, what were our strengths.”
Moya acknowledges, in her words, that “the goodness of Clannad came from those first six albums — what we were about, what we were conceiving.
“This new album is a continuation of where we came from, but definitely there are elements of the first album. There was well over an album and a half of material but we kept it to the essence and theme of our music. We had such a great time.”
Plans are in place to come to America for a tour in the coming months, a prospect that excites the Brennan clan to no end.
“We will be doing a lot of the new album. I hope people buy it and prepare themselves for that. We may do a few songs we haven’t done in a while,” Moya says.
“Of course, you want to include some of the favorite songs — you can’t avoid that. It will be dotted with ones we haven’t done in a while. It will be nice to get onstage with the family again.”
Here’s the promotional video for Clannad’s new CD, “Nádúr.”