Clanú Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!

Clanú Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!


Clanú are back with a new album Long Way Round. This is a strong follow-up to their 2012 album Ancient Walls. The reason why I got so excited in reviewing this is because of the evolution of their sound. The tracks are more diverse and they have lots of influences in this new album, from  bluegrass, Irish folk, Irish traditional, Americana and country.

Long Way Round has twelve tracks including covers of Black is the Color and Siúil A Rún. They incorporate traditional and folk instruments. I am a big fan of  piano music and I think Diamond’s Relief is spectacular. It has that contemporary, New Agey feel reminiscent of Night Noise and Phil Coulter. High five  to them for adding this gem.

Like Clannad and The Corrs, Clanu are composed  mostly of family members: Dee McIlroy, Niall McIlroy, Damian McIlroy, Paul Conlon and Fiona McIlroy. The latter  possess and angelic voice. I would not be surprised if one day she will be embarking on a solo career as a singer/instrumentalist.

I think Dee and Fiona  did an amazing work with their vocal styles that are supple and expressive. They sing within their ranges and that’s what I want my music to be after a long day-relaxing but also diverse. The rest of the players did their part in holding the architectural soundscape of this album, not just in every track but also on how every track sticks to each other  in a cohesive way.

You Know My Love Is True has a distinct style. It calls to mind American music in the swinging era with traces of Bluegrass. I feel like I would jitterbug every time I hear this song.

Long Way Round is an album that will appeal to many listeners. Clanú are from Belfast but with a sound like that, it is likely they will conquer continental Europe.

Autumn Leaves Are Falling

Autumn Leaves Are Falling

I took the title of this blog from a Clannad song. It is a track taken off their late 90s album, Landmarks. It also happens to me one of their strongest albums in my opinion. 

Autumn is the time of the year when everything slows down. Everything becomes quite. People become more contemplative. And what better way to celebrate the month of October than to listen to new and upcoming albums from your favorite Celtic bands and solo artists!

Now for the list:

Kyle Carey id launching a kickstarter campaign ‘The Art of Forgetting’ – which will be released in the fall of 2017. The album will be produced by Dirk Powell and will feature some of the finest in Celtic and American music. 

This will be her third album following the critically acclaimed North Star. Her vocal style is unique. And she can sing in many languages. I am sure this upcoming album will be as strong as her previous ones.



New album by Clanu out!


From Belfast!

For fans of Bluegrass, Traditional Irish, folk and instrumental music, Clanu will be a welcomed released. We have seen and heard releases that are loud and fast and it is time to quiet down a bit with Long Way Round. The album art is not the only thing that’s beautiful in this album. Hint: use your ears 😉

Members are Dee McIlroy, Niall McIlroy, Damian McIlroy, Paul Conlon and Fiona McIlroy. Grab this album now while it is fresh from the recording studio!


Famous Lead Vocalist of Goth/New Wave band The Bolshoi is now a Celtic Rocker with Rathkeltair

I am talking about Trevor Tanner. This came as a surprise because I was going to write a story about his former band for this Goth magazine that I also write for but further research pointed me to his new music. This is exciting because it shows that when a door closes, another door opens and that goes to any form of art. Music is fluid and it doesn’t matter what style you play, it is still music. Check out more videos of Rathkeltair via YouTube.




Clanú: A Closer Listen (Interview with Dee McIlroy)

Plus our picture of the day featuring Maura O’Connell and Flashback video from Equation!

Clanú: Dee McIlroy, Niall McIlroy, Damian McIlroy and Barry Skeffington.

Great Irish music comes pouring in with Clanú.

I have no doubt that this band is going to create more great albums in years to come. I think they are in the right track with their music. It is always inspiring to have a kind of music that not only lets you look back at traditions but also makes you FEEL insideClanu is one of the finest examples how Irish music is flowering, taking other influences and spreading awareness to both national and international listeners. Thanks to cyberspace one can keep track of these things which would be impossible offline. The little article I did became an agreement with Dee McIlroy  (singer / guitarist/ producer) for an online interview which took sometime due to the band’s rigorous touring schedule. If  you are not aware yet, Dee(Dermot) runs a great company called  McIlroy Guitars It was worth the wait because they are the featured band for this week.

..And Dee answers the questions:


How do you describe your band and what’s in store for your listener this summer?

Dee McIlroy talks to CMF about Clanú

Clanú is a combination of several members of two very different Irish bands, Outta Folkus who are the Folk / Bluegrass combo (usually a 3 piece) and Torann who are a young 5 piece playing Irish Trad. Both Outta Folkus and Torann are very busy playing in venues and festivals around the country. Outta Folkus average two or three gigs a week, while Torann can fit just as many into one weekend.

Torann have just finished a stint as the “3rd class passenger folk group” in the stage musical version of The Titanic.

They will be supporting bands such as Lunasa throughout the summer months.

Outta Folkus just returned from Switzerland after a series of gigs there and have already secured gigs there for 2013.

Because two members of Torann and one member of Outta Folkus are part of the same family (father and sons), the project to create something blending the two was something that we talked about many times. Hence Clanú was formed in 2010 and we set about writing the music for the album Ancient Walls which was completed in 2011.

What’s the recording process for Ancient Walls? 

Many of the tracks on the Ancient Walls album are original, either written specially for the album or selected from a back catalogue of unrecorded material. Most tracks had been chosen before we started but there were one or two which just seemed to need to be part of the project, “Slow Whiskey” is one example.

The core of the recordings were recorded over the course of a few sessions. We have recording studio at home, so that allowed us the freedom to experiment.

“Once I had the foundation of the recording, i.e. the main tune and instrumentation which was recorded live so to speak (all major parts playing together), I would then add the orchestral pieces, bass, pads etc at a later date. Some I would do myself and other pieces would be done by the other band members where necessary and then layered into the sound. So the rest of the production and mastering took six months to complete. With that in mind, I was conscious that we must be able to recreate the sound as much as possible when playing live. Because we are all multi-instrumentalists we can swap instruments to suit the individual track and we can indeed produce the album tracks exceptionally well.

Dee, What is it about Clanu that is unique from the rest of the bands cropping up these days within the musical culture?

Irish music: It’s a family thing.

There are few, if any, bands who manage to create a mix of old and new folk songs with the fast paced modern Trad that you see in the likes of Grada and Beoga. It’s like The Dubliners meet Lunasa with a bit of Planxty thrown in for good measure. The beauty of this is that we tend to please both camps. There are many people who think an evening of pure Irish Trad would be made even better with a spattering of songs, some new and some old favourites. That’s what we do.

Torann and Outta Folkus  came head to head with an event last 11th  of Aug, not as Clanú but individually, with all members, when they will appear at the 3rd International McIlroy Guitar gathering in Ballycastle, Co Antrim, N. Ireland.

Do you think there is a fierce competition within the Trad scene these days?

 There is little or no competition within the Trad scene other than when it’s an actual competition like the All Ireland Fleadh .

There is a tradition within Irish music that you teach the music to the next generation and this keeps the culture alive. So it’s not a case of keeping your music to yourself but spreading it as far and wide as possible, even if that means that there is less work for musicians. But we don’t look at it that way, we simply try to be the best we can and maybe offer something a little different or special.

What are the bands that were supportive of your works(recording and getting the word out there) and what are the bands that have influenced you musically? 

There are certainly many bands and musicians who have influenced us over the years, such as Planxty, The Bothy Band, Boys of the Lough and more recently Gráda, Sharon Shannon, Beoga, the list goes on.

When it comes to support for getting albums recorded and distributed, while there may be a little arts funding for the few, the vast majority of musicians dig deep into their own pockets to produce their albums. I started my own label called Stubborn Ass Music. The idea was to make studio, production and mastering time available ourselves and friends (or friends of friends) who would not in any normal circumstances be able to afford to get an album to market. So far I have produced 5 albums (not all folk / trad), the latest was An Turas by the Glengormley school of traditional music, of which all the members of Clanú have taught at.

There was an incredible amount of work put into all these albums and all in our spare time as we’re not professional musicians. But hopefully the work put in is reflected in the quality of the Ancient Walls album as well as the others.

On performing live, what are the things artists should consider especially when it is a big crowd as opposed to intimate gatherings?

Clanú are a four piece band spanning two generations and the influences of each generation comes through in their music. From the fast paced modern Trad of Damian and Niall to the even faster contemporary folk and bluegrass sound (or greengrass as we call it) of Dee and Barry. With the wide range of instruments they play, they manage to produce a sound which enthrals crowds around the country and beyond. Add to this the song-writing and tune-writing capabilities that all the members possess and you have a unique yet familiar trad / folk sound that will have you dancing, singing or crying and sometimes all at the same time.

When performing in front of large crowds it’s more than likely that all the sound, lighting, running times, etc have all been arranged, so it’s best to just relax and enjoy. The main thing to remember is “Never turn up late”. You won’t make any friends with the organizers, crew or other musicians on the bill.

What’s your message to people who have just stumbled upon Clanu?  

I would say to all those who hear our music, I hope you enjoy it as mush as we did making it. Support live music by buying the CD, downloading it or streaming it on Spotify or similar. And please spread the word. We hope we can come play in your town sometime, wherever in the world you are.

And thank you Baxter for inviting us to take part in this questionnaire.

Dee, thank you so much for talking the time to talk to CMF and also for sharing your ideas  that will  benefit musicians of all genres. Friends, don’t forget to check out the music of Clanu and also get yourself a copy of their new album Ancient Walls.

Here are links to their videos:


Our picture of the day:  Maura O’Connell

Maura O’Connell

She has a big Celtic voice that resonates through your soul. This picture tells us how this this Irish artist sees life and uses that  inspiration to heal our hearts.


Flashback: Equation from 1995

Yes this is Cara Dillon and gang in the age of grunge music and fashion. Who would have thought that years later individual members wouldlead successful solo careers…and continue to inspire us with their great music. It is great to look back and marvel at how Irish music has evolved and influenced the younger generation.

Cara Dillon and Seth Lakeman, two of the leading acts in the UK and Irish folk scene, were both formerly members of Equation, a folk supergroup signed to Warner label Blanco y Negro in 1995 by Geoff Travis. They recorded one album, Return To Me, which was shelved by the record company just before its release (but was released by Rough Trade Records after Travis bought the masters), but the lead single, He Loves Me, got a release in 1996 with a full promotional video. The video became available on Ebay recently and with a stroke of luck I had the winning bid. Here it is in all its glory. Seth appears to be a bit of a spare part, but Cara is glowing in all her youth and mid nineties fashion! Enjoy…

Listen to Clanú

Irish musicians make great tracks with this band!

Clanú is a four piece band that needs your best audio speakers. They play slow and fast tunes. These musicians also add atmosphere to every track. Clanú combines Irish trad music and Bluegrass. You will  love the vocals too. Songs like the moving Bruach na carriage baine has cinematic appeal. The Outlaw Joseph Emmet sounds like something out of a Western movie. Into the Sun glides playfully into your mood. She Came To Me Softly is a ballad laden with beautiful vocals and excellent instrumental arrangement. The House Set is a jig rooted to the band’s love for traditional music. Slow Whiskey is a slow remake of Whiskey in the Jar which is refreshing to listen to.

They are based in Belfast.  I attached links below where you can get resources about these guys. You can contact the band through Download Ancient Walls from itunes:


Clanú are a four piece band spanning two generations and the influences of each generation comes through in their music. From the fast paced modern Trad of Damian and Niall to the even faster contemporary folk and bluegrass sound (or greengrass as we call it) of Dee and Barry. With the wide range of instruments they play, they manage to produce a sound which enthralls crowds around the country and beyond. Add to this the song-writing and tune-writing capabilities that all the members possess and you have a unique yet familiar trad / folk sound that will have you dancing, singing or crying and sometimes all at the same time.