Clannad, The Young uns. Friday 5th June 2015

Jun 8, 2015   //   by Michael Stevenson   //   News  //  No Comments

CLANNAD
THE YOUNG’UNS
Gate To Southwell Festival 2015

Fresh from collecting their Best Folk Group 2015 award, The Young’Uns arrive with a spring in their steps and lashings of comedic confidence. Earlier in the day they’d performed in Southwell’s magnificent Minster and also visited a local Church of England school. Branding it posh, they revealed that one pupil had asked them “what’s your favourite cheese?” They contrasted this with a recent question from a kid in a Northern school: “which one of you three is the hardest?”

In truth, Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes don’t look as if, collectively, they could knock the skin off a rice pudding. But all three do possess some of the finest voices and harmonies on the current roots and acoustic scene, combined with a rare talent for original songwriting and distinctive interpretation. Their extremely funny, yet very moving set drifted from the tragic beauty of ‘The Streets Of Lahore’ and the political comedy of ‘Lovely Cup Of Tea’ through to covers of Billy Bragg’s ‘Between The Wars’ and “our favourite folk song from Manchester” James’ ‘Sit Down’. Self-deprecating, relaxed and incredibly talented, The Young’Uns’ will prove to be a shining highlight of this and any festival.

In a lifetime of music that has seen them develop from rural Donegal to conquer the Celtic, traditional, folk and roots music world, Clannad have sold over 15 milion records and collected Grammys, BAFTAs, Ivor Novellos and Billboard awards along the way. Now forty-five years from their inception, this Southwell set was an atmospheric movement through their greatest hits including ‘Harry’s Game’, ‘I Will Find You’ (from the Last of the Mohicans), ‘Closer To Your Heart’ and ‘Newgrange’. Along the way they warmed local hearts with a beautifully-nostalgic medley from their soundtrack for the TV series ‘Robin The Hooded Man’, and they also demonstrated their extraordinary musical talents on several almost Prog Folk instrumentals.

It was great to see and hear the family chemistry at work on ‘Vellum’ and ‘Rhapsody na gCrann’ from their 2013 comeback collection ‘Nadur’; the traditional Irish harmonies of Moya Brennan and her brothers Ciaran and Pol were an intoxicating contrast to the Teesider sounds of the Young’Uns. At the heart of it all, Moya’s ethereal voice and her green-fingered harp-playing set them apart and confirmed their Celtic legend status. A warm night revealing the richness and depth of the traditional roots and acoustic music scene in 2015, and a special night for Southwell.

Len Brown

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