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Tír Na Nóg

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Biography

Tír na nÓg was an Irish band of the early 1970s, consisting of Leo O’Kelly and Sonny Condell. Their music mainly consisted of their own compositions, based on strong Celtic roots and typically featuring intricate acoustic guitar playing and close harmony singing. They toured the folk clubs of England; played live on John Peel’s radio show; toured internationally as a support act for several rock bands; and made three studio albums.

Tír na nÓg made three albums between 1971 and 1974. The first was called “Tír na nÓg” and was produced by Bill Leader. It achieved Melody Maker Album of The Month on its release in 1971. It featured mainly their own songs, strongly rooted in the Celtic tradition, but also influenced by eastern music. Condell and O’Kelly played acoustic guitars and occasional bongos and other percussion instruments. Their guitar work was intricate and complex, leading to their being compared to bands such as The Incredible String Band and Pentangle. However, their style was quite distinctive. Often, they would use different open tunings for their two guitars.

Their second album “A Tear and a Smile” was released in 1972. This featured similar material to the first album. However, with their third album “Strong in the Sun” (released in 1974), produced by Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher who also played keyboards on the album, they introduced more electric instruments and drums. From Alan Robinson’s 2004 liner notes to BGO’s reissue of this and the previous album on one CD: “.

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