Dónal Clancy is an acclaimed guitarist, singer and performer. His father and uncles of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are often regarded as the first group to bring Irish folk song to a worldwide audience in the 1950′s and 60’s. Dónal grew up in a household and community steeped in music. He spent his early childhood in Canada and the US before his family settled back in An Rinn, Co.Waterford in 1983.
His father gave him his first guitar at the age of eight and he was playing professionally by his early teens. After returning from a residency at Delaney’s Irish Pub in Hong Kong in the mid-nineties, he co-founded the group Danú but left soon after to join a trio with his father, Liam, and cousin, Robbie O’Connell. Their debut tour in 1996 took them across the US, from the Santa Anita Race Track in Los Angeles to Lincoln Center in NY City. They continued to tour together for a couple of more years and recorded two albums before they disbanded in the early noughties.
In 1998, Dónal moved to New York where he became the go-to guitarist for many of the top Irish music acts. He contributed to albums and tours with Riverdance fiddler, Eileen Ivers and was guest guitarist with The Chieftains on their Tears of Stone Tour in Japan and the US in 1999. From 2000 – 2002 he was a member of the Irish-American super-group Solas and in 2003 he re-joined the group Danú who would go on to become one of the most successful Irish bands today. He also contributed to the soundtrack of Ric Burns award winning documentary film New York and in 2006 released his first solo guitar album Close To Home which The Boston Globe dubbed “a sweet masterpiece of melodic grace and riveting groove”.
In 2009, Dónal returned to live in Ireland with his wife, Mary and their three children. After the death of his father (the last remaining member of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem) he began to focus his attention on the family repertoire of songs that he grew up with, while keeping the Clancy tradition alive with his solo performances. In 2014, to much critical acclaim, he released an album dedicated to The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem entitled Songs of a Roving Blade. The Irish Post called it “folk singing at it’s best” and “a smashing album that should help to ensure these songs will never be lost” ***** (out of 5)
Dónal’s latest album On the Lonesome Plain features a mix of seven vocal tracks and six guitar instrumentals, including two of his own compositions A Strike for Victory commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising and an instrumental piece entitled Máirseáil na Conrach, inspired by the dramatic beauty of West Kerry.