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Saturday 1 October 2016

Clannad founding member Padraig Duggan dies aged 67

Clannad members Padraig Duggan (left) and his brother Noel with their Grammy Award Picture: AP
Clannad members Padraig Duggan (left) and his brother Noel with their Grammy Award Picture: AP

The music world has been mourning the death of Clannad co-founder Padraig Duggan, who has passed away at the age of 67.

The renowned folk musician, who is Enya's uncle, passed away at Blanchardstown Hospital yesterday morning as a result of a recurring illness. He is survived by his wife Jan.

Together with his twin brother Noel, they formed Clannad with their nephews and nieces Ciaran, Pol and Moya Brennan. Enya was a later addition to the Irish folk band.

Moya Brennan broke the sad news of his passing on Twitter.

"My dear uncle and Clannad member Padraig Duggan passed away peacefully this morning. Rest in peace," she wrote.

The Donegal band began their career back in the early 1970s after winning the Letterkenny Folk Festival and enlisted the talents of Enya - whose real name is Eithne - in the late 1970s.

She worked on two albums with them before starting her solo career.

Taking their name from the Irish word for family, the band found fame in 1982 when their theme song for the TV mini-series Harry's Game became a UK hit. They became the first act to perform as Gaeilge on BBC's Top of the Pops, which led to them writing the soundtrack for the Robin of Sherwood TV series.

They caught the attention of U2's Bono, who recorded a song that went on to become a smash-hit entitled In a Lifetime.

They toured internationally, releasing 25 albums and racking up a host of awards including the Ivor Novello songwriting accolade.

In 1997 their 15th album, Landmarks, won a Grammy Award for best New Age recording.

They also had success in the US after penning a track for the Oscar-winning film The Last of the Mohicans starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

The track saw them painstakingly researching the Mohicans to write the lyrics in that tribe's near-extinct language.

Padraig, who played guitar and mandolin, and his brother Noel released a collaborative album, Rubicon, in 2005.

The album featured a new version of the song Liza, which had won them the Letterkenny Folk Festival three decades earlier.

"I actually wrote it up on the roof of Leo's Tavern," Noel said previously.

Upbeat

"I was up there for some reason with my guitar. It is an upbeat pop song, I suppose I was influenced by bands such as The Beatles.

"It was a unique song at the time: a pop song in Gaelic.

"It proved popular in the local schools [and] the young people seemed to adopt it."

The song is still taught in some schools around the country.

They toured Germany with traditional band Norland Wind before Clannad got back together again in 2012.

The band were also given a lifetime achievement award by the BBC after they reunited.

A funeral for the musician will be held in St Mary's Church, Derrybeg, on Thursday.

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