The Irish Revolution
CATID: EUCD2876 | Label: ARC Music
RELEASE DATE FRIDAY 22nd SEPTEMBER 2023
‘The Irish Revolution’ is the latest album from renowned Irish composer and founding member of Clannad, Pól Brennan.
This collection of songs – originally produced as the soundtrack to the RTÉ documentary series from which the album takes its name – explores one of the most tumultuous times of the artist's homeland: the Irish revolutionary period and its War of Independence.
The pieces within chart the events of this troubled time for the Irish people and display the hallmarks for which Pól Brennan’s music is revered – emotional depth and powerful storytelling. Even without the pictures they were composed to accompany, the songs take you back to a turbulent time and elicit powerful feelings with an orchestral and imposing grace. Given the source of inspiration, one may not be surprised that many tracks deliver a sense of tension and foreboding.
With empathic artistry, Pól leads us through a myriad of emotions that warfare undoubtedly instils in a suffering population. From the ominous opening strings of ‘Réabhóid’ (Revolution), we travel the timeline and visit various historical flashpoints. Tension builds in ‘The Revolt’ as strings and drums combine to imply the uncertain future faced by those in 1919. The hypnotically intense strings of ‘IRA Goes to War’ allude to anxiety toward the impending hostilities, and the baleful bell tolling in ‘WWI’ signifies the terrible cost of conflict. Defiant drums of ‘IRA Strikes Back’ point to the escalation of engagements, and the persistent percussion of ‘War Grinds On’ evokes the relentless pressure of war. Yet, where there is despair, there must be hope. A symphony of strings, perhaps representative of a community, comes together for the track ‘A Gaelic People’. The hopeful harp of ‘An Chéad Dáil’ offers encouragement of resolution, and the lighter tones of flute and whistle are discovered, piercing the darkness throughout the album.
‘The Irish Revolution’ is a sweeping score that relays the significant events of the past. Events of which the Irish people still feel the impact to this day. Not simply a retelling of incidents, Brennan’s mastery of music shines a light on many facets of human nature – bad and good.
Conflict, suffering, and sadness are some of the darker aspects explored, yet in a reflection of the indomitable human spirit, resilience, determination, and, ultimately, hope shine through. A work of beauty, poignancy, power, and pathos.
Pól Brennan is an Irish singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer. A founding member of the world-renowned band Clannad, Pol’s musical career spans over five decades. Immersed in traditional Irish music from a young age, Brennan’s passion has taken him further afield, led to collaborations with some of the music world's biggest names, and seen him develop a unique style that blends the traditional with the novel, drawing inspiration from many genres and cultures. He has produced music for television and film and is recognised as one of the most influential artists in the history of Irish music.