Liam Clancy and his talented family spellbind
Strand Theatre audiences
Saturday June 21, 2008
By Aileen Hahesy
The inaugural Clancy Brothers Music Festival ended on a high note on Monday night with Liam Clancy and members of his extended family giving a stellar performance before 400 guests at the Strand Theatre.
The last surviving member of the famous Clancy Brothers ballad group was in top form for the last concert of the festival, his voice as strong and sweet as ever, and his showmanship and stage presence as commanding.
At the end of the night, the Festival organisers presented Liam and Mary, Joan and Moira Clancy widows of his brothers Paddy, Tom and Bobby with a specially commissioned crystal Life Time Achievement Award handcrafted by master cutter Eamon Hartley from Slieverue in Co. Kilkenny.
It was a fitting closing curtain for the folk music festival that many are hoping will become an annual event.
The Nationalist attended the first of the “Evening With Liam Clancy and Family” concerts on Sunday and was blown away with the wealth of musical talent of The Clancy Brothers sons and daughters, nieces, nephews and sons-in-law, who performed.
The gorgeous voices of Colm Power (Peg Power’s son) and Aoife Clancy (Bobby Clancy’s daughter) singing ballads they learned from the older generation of their family; the exquisite guitar playing of Liam’s son Donal, and Pat O’Brien, (eldest son of Lila Clancy), performing Sean O’Riada’s Roisin Dubh on harmonica were among the highlights.
Other stand-out performances included Hugh O’Carroll (Tom Clancy’s son-in-law), also Welsh songwriter Ryland Teffi singing one of his own songs and reciting with his wife Roisin, (daughter of Bobby Clancy), a passage from Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milkwood”; the set of reels played by award winning fiddler Sean Rattigan and the beautiful Connemara Cradle Song sung by his wife Alice, who is daughter of Cait Clancy.
Blawnin and Rayleen Clancy (daughters of Tom Clancy) exhibited an impressive collection of fourteen large paintings in the upstairs foyer.
The singers, musicians and other relatives who performed at the concert joined Liam Clancy and his backing musicians on stage for the last part of the show. Liam Clancy, who performed a solo concert the night before, thrilled the audience by opening his slot with the rousing “I Am A Rambler” and followed up with other Clancy Brothers favourites such as “Go Lassie Go” and “The Leaving of Liverpool”.
He told the audience he hadn’t performed in Carrick-on-Suir for a while but the flood of memories it had brought back to him, particularly memories of life in William Street, had gladdened his heart.
“Let’s hope it (the Festival) will go on year after year,” he said before adding that while he may “fall off the old conveyor belt before long” the rest of his family will be there to follow on the musical legacy of The Clancy Brothers.
But from his performances over the weekend, Liam Clancy still has many more audiences to spellbind.