Clannad PhotoFORMED: 1970, Ireland

Clannad bridged the gap between traditional celtic music and pop. Usually, their results were an entrancing, enchanting form of pop that managed to fuse the disparate elements together rather seamlessly. Such fusions have earned the band an international cult of fans.

Taking their name from the Gaelic word for "family," Clannad formed in 1970 when the Brennan family -- Maire (vocals, harp), Ciaran (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), Pol (guitar, percussion, flute, vocals) -- began playing at their father Leo's tavern with two of their uncles, Padraig Duggan (guitar, vocals, mandolin) and Noel Duggan (guitar, vocals). Soon afterward, the group began playing folk festivals in Ireland. They released their self-titled first album in 1973, yet the band didn't earn any wide-spread success until they toured Germany in 1975. Maire's sister, Enya, joined the group in 1979, yet left in 1982, just as the group was beginning to come into some pop success in the U.K. Clannad recorded the theme song for the television program "Harry's Game"; the single hit number five on the charts and won the band an Ivor Novello Award.

The band recorded the soundtrack to the television production "Robin of Sherwood" in 1984; it won a British Academy Award for best soundtrack the next year. Clannad's success continued in 1986, when U2's Bono was featured on the Top 20 hit "In A Lifetime." The band continued to release albums into the 1990s, building their pop following without losing their folk audience. Their latest release, Landmarks, was issued in early 1998. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide