De Dannan released 14 albums between 1975 and 2000.
They show a wide range of music and styles from Irish traditional jigs and reels, to pop classics like Hey Jude by the Beatles.
They have played interpretations of classical music like The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba.
De Dannan – the arrival of the Galway Sound
It announced the arrival of a new force in Irish music that came to be known as the Galway sound.
The album features Dolores Keane on vocals.
She sang on The Ramblin’ Irishman which was a big hit for De Dannan and helped to get the band established in Ireland, giving them a springboard to start touring abroad.
The Mist Covered Mountain – with Galway singers
The Mist Covered Mountain was released in 1980 and was notable for featuring guest singers from the Galway area.
Sean O Conaire sang a song from the Gaeltacht called Maire Mhor, which means Tall Maura.
Tom Phaidin, who came from Spiddal where the band first formed, sang the ballad Henry Joy McCracken. He was 85 at the time.
Anthem – the best of the Mary Black era
Anthem was released in 1985 and was for many people, the best album featuring Mary Black on vocals.
It is also notable for the way accordionist Mairtin O’Connor took an old Eastern European tune and arranged it in a traditional Irish style. It was called Connie from Connemara.
Other tracks include Wren’s Nest, Johhny I Hardly Knew You and Paddy’s Lamentation.
Hibernian Rhapsody – an Irish makeover for Queen
Hibernian Rhapsody surprised many by featuring Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, arranged in a traditional Irish style.
The album also featured more familiar traditional Irish tunes and some excellent vocals from Tommy Fleming.
Other notable tracks include Donegal Reels, The Irish Girl and Danny Boy. The album was released in 1995.
How the West Was Won – 25th anniversary album
How the West Was Won was released in 1999 and celebrated De Dannan’s 25 years as one of Ireland’s leading traditional bands.
It’s a double album highlighting the wide range of music they had covered during their career. There are traditional airs and songs, including Ramblin’ Irishman from the early days.
The first track of the album is De Dannan’s arrangement of Handel’s masterpiece, Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, which they renamed as Arrival of the Queen of Sheba to Galway.
The album also featured their arrangement of The Beatles Hey Jude, which had been a hit for them in Ireland in 1980.
Welcome to the Hotel Connemara
Welcome to the Hotel Connemara was the band’s final album, released in 2000.
The title was a bit of wordplay on The Eagles Welcome to Hotel California.
It alarmed and delighted their fans in equal measure because it comprised completely of De Dannan’s arrangements of pop classics.
Amond the songs covered were River Deep, Mountain High, Suspicious Minds, White Shade of Pale and Only the Lonely.
The rest of the De Danna catalogue
The other albums released by De Dannan during their 25 year career are:
- Selected Jigs Reels and Songs (1977)
- Star-Spangled Molly (1981)
- Best of De Dannan (1981)
- Song For Ireland (1983)
- The Irish RM (1984)
- Ballroom (1987)
- A Jacket of Batteries (1988)
- Half Set in Harlem (1991)
A wonderful legacy of Irish music
The 14 albums released by De Dannan are among the best to be produced by an Irish band.
They created a new Galway sound based on their home area in the West of Ireland which was a refreshing change at a time when a lot of Irish music was dominated by Dublin based performers.
Their flirtation with pop music raised a few eyebrows among some of their fans but it also brought De Dannan and their arrangements of Irish traditional music to a much wider audience.