Cambridge Corn Exchange
Saturday 11 March 2000
This is Máire Brennan's first solo tour, without Clannad, accompanying the release of her fourth solo album, Whisper to the Wild Water.
Theseems to have solved its sound problems at last -- there was none of the muffled quality that has slightly spoiled earlier concerts. And the balance between voice and instruments was better -- the instruments rarely drowned the vocals. The warm-up act, Boolay, were much superior to the warm-up from the previous Clannad concert I heard.
Although this is the tour to accompany her new album, she also sang songs and played harp instrumentals from earlier solo albums (such as "Heal This Land", "Doon Well", "Perfect Time", and "Na Paisti"), and quite a lot from Clannad albums, too (such as the theme from "Harry's Game", "In A Lifetime", the theme from "Last of the Mohicans", "Alasdair MacColla", and some early ballads).
In a way, I think this balance of material was a pity. Although Máire Brennan definitely is "the Voice of Clannad", the rest of the band is important too, and her backing band here, although very good, isn't Clannad. Since her solo work is excellent, too, I would have liked to have heard more of it, rather than faux Clannad. (Yet, ironically, the song I enjoyed most was a Clannad one. Her rendition of "Coinleach Glas An Fhómhair" was just breathtaking -- better even, I thought, than the version on Magical Ring.)
I have said on a previous occasion that I would listen to Máire Brennan singing a telephone directory, because she has an amazingly beautiful voice. However, the tune and style of that rendition would be important, too. I simply adore her singing the delicate "haunting" or "ethereal" style of songs, and merely very much like her more mainstream, or hearty, ones. And because I felt the balance was more to the latter than the former style, I merely very much enjoyed (rather than adored) the evening's music.
reviewed 12 March 2000