Pol Brennan gives what he calls "the short version of the long version" when he talks about the Irish band Clannad, which consists of him, his two siblings Moya and Ciaran, and their two uncles, Padraig and Noel Duggan. Clannad plays tonight at John Ascuaga's Nugget.
"We've been going for over 35 years," Brennan said. "Our base was folk music. We all had a lot of classical training as well, though, and we had a lot of success with different scores."
Of Clannad's music, Brennan said, "It's difficult to pigeonhole it," noting that it includes "a lot of acoustic rock, a lot of chanting."
The Duggans, who are Brennan's mother's brothers, "came out of the bogs in County Donegal," Brennan said. A long Irish name derived from their home town of Gaoth Dobhar (pronounced GWEE'-dore) was compacted into Clannad, and they recorded six traditional Irish albums between 1973 and 1980.
In 1979 and 1980, the band was joined by a younger Brennan sister a lass by the name of Enya who eventually went on to her own highly successful solo career.
The different scores Brennan refers to include those for successful British series like "Harry's Game" and "Robin of Sherwood," along with the song "I Will Find You" from "The Last of the Mohicans." Bono joined the group for "In a Lifetime"; Steve Perry and Bruce Hornsby, along with others, joined it for "Sirius."
The success of Clannad's 1991 album "Anam" was highlighted by the single "Ri Na Cruinne (King of the Universe)," which was part of the BBC's "One World One Voice" campaign, in which Clannad was joined by the likes of Sting, Peter Gabriel and the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra.
Clannad is working on a new album and is on its first tour in 18 years. Brennan considers it "a joy to be on stage again," he said. "We'll be doing material that goes back to albums Americans may not have heard" (8 p.m.; $28; 800-648-1177 or janugget.com).
Nevada Day and Halloween
Halloween means more in Nevada than any other state because it also marks the state's birthday this year is its 148th. Its calendar position in the middle of the week this year, however, means the annual party was moved up to Saturday and Sunday in Carson City.
Nevada Day festivities this year include a carnival, a hugely popular parade (10 a.m. Saturday down Carson Street), a traveling Vietnam wall, living history re-enactments, and aircraft and weapon displays in keeping with this year's theme of "Honoring Our Military and Families Past, Present and Future."
Special events worth checking out are: the world championship singlejack drilling contest, in which contestants are given 10 minutes to drill as deep a hole as possible into Sierra White granite using hammers and bits of graduated steel (Carson Nugget parking lot after the parade Saturday); the Nevada beard contest with categories including longest, scruffiest and reddest (after the parade, at the Capitol amphitheater); and the free chili feed from noon to 2 p.m. in the Carson Nugget banquet center. It will be hosted by Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who also will conduct tours of the governor's mansion from 2 to 4 p.m. (nevadaday.com).
Halloween parties scheduled this year include: John Ascuaga's Halloween Hoedown on Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight in the cabaret with music from Rick Hays & American Steel and a $1,000 costume contest; the popular Freakers Ball at the MontBleu, with $10,000 in costume prizes (8 p.m.; $30; montbleuresort.com); and Thunder Valley's two parties, tonight's "Hip Hop Halloween Party" with Naughty by Nature, the Sugarhill Gang, and Kool Moe Dee (9 p.m.; $45.50, $55.50, standing room only; thundervalleyresort.com), and Saturday's Sinners and Saints Halloween Party with a DJ and $10,000 costume contest (9 p.m.; $20, $25, standing room only).
Boomtown, Reno Events Center: Little River Band, Nov. 17; Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats, Dec. 29; (800) 648-3790.
Carson Valley Inn Cabaret Lounge: Paul Covarelli, Tuesday-Wednesday; Jo Mama, through Saturday. (775) 782-9711.
Eldorado, Reno Showroom: "Jersey Nights," through Nov. 13; "Aladdin and His Lamp," Nov. 20- Jan. 13. (800) 648-5966.
Harrah's Reno Sammy's Showroom: The Magic of Eli Kerr, Fridays-Sundays. (800) 427-7247.
Harrah's Lake Tahoe South Shore Room: Leon Russell, Saturday; the Dan Band, Nov. 10; Average White Band, Nov. 17; Beatles vs. Stones A Musical Shootout, Nov. 23-24; Christmas with Aaron Neville, Dec. 15. (800) 427-7247.
Horizon, Lake Tahoe Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Thursdays-Tuesdays. (775) 588-6211.
MontBleu Resort, Lake Tahoe Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Nov. 17; Daniel Tosh, Dec. 15. (888) 829-7630.
Silver Legacy, Reno Grande Exposition Hall: Wanda Sykes, Nov. 3; BB King, Nov. 9; Dennis Miller, Nov. 17; Rodney Carrington, Nov. 24; Ethan Bortnick, Nov. 30; Randy Travis, Dec. 1; Daniel Tosh, Dec. 14. Reno Events Center: Eric Church with Justin Moore and Kip Moore, Nov. 11. (800) 687-8733.