A Review of the Donal Clancy CD
"Close To Home"

"Druid Dance"
by Donal Clancy

Copyright 2006
Compass Records 7 4438 2

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 4/07

If you are a fan of albums that are almost solely guitar instrumentals – which apart from Dónal accompanying himself in places with bodhran and bouzouki, and occasional accompaniment on uilleann pipes by David Power, this very much is - then this is an album to interest you.

If you are a fan of albums that draw on material exclusively taken from The Tradition (Hibernian Branch), then this too is an album to interest you.

And if you are a fan of albums that exude Taste with a capital T, played with virtuosic skill, then this too will be to your liking.

If you have all three in a row here on the One Armed Bandit of CD Charms, then all I can say is, please make a beeline for the shops.

I liked this album a lot. Dónal, of course is the son of the great piper Liam O'Flynn, and started learning guitar as a small kid with his dad, plus Arty McGlynn and Paul Brady, as his teachers! And it shows.

Everything he approached here, he managed to pull off. A nicely varied and balanced selection between the up-tempo and the lyrical, he seems just as much at home taking corners at motor-racing speed as strolling dreamily down the prom.

My favourite track has to be his version of the O'Carolan harp tune, "Lord Inchiquin": you'd almost think that it was originally written for guitar, so natural does it seem.

Many of you reading this will know that Dónal co-founded the group Danú, but departed soon after. In 2003 though he rejoined his friends in Danú, with which group he still performs.

I note that he lives these days in Yonkers, New York. Now, whether this album would be staple fare in the bars and clubs there, I have my doubts, for it is unyieldingly determined NOT to go down the road of commerciality. But that there is a market for this album, is surely beyond a peradventure. And that market exists far beyond the Irish diaspora.

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby UK

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