- 17 Feb 16
Stunning second album from traditional Irish supergroup
The theory is that a gang-like coming together of a group of musicians, in which the talents of the various players truly complement one another, will make the whole into something ineffably greater than the sum of its parts.
It is a tough ask, when those musicians include world-renowned fiddler Martin Hayes, sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, New York pianist Thomas Bartlett (Doveman, Antony And The Johnsons), Chicago-born guitarist Dennis Cahill, and fiddle innovator supreme, Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh. Clearly, the starter ingredients are already pretty special. But in the case of The Gloaming, the resulting musical creation is indeed a unique alchemy and the music is nothing short of astounding.
It’s trad, Jim, but not as we know it. Hayes and his merry men take what are often standard Irish tunes, like ‘Repeal The Union’, ‘The Old Favourite’, ‘Slán le Máighe’ (‘Farewell to the Maigue’) and ‘Casadh an tSúígáin’ (‘The Turning Of The Rope’) and tear them apart, before reconstructing the melody in small steps, adding layers of sound and fury as the song is reborn as a brand new entity entirely. Repetition is a key component of what they do, but it’s the antithesis of boring: instead, a particular musical phrase is layered, and twisted and turned, as if to ensure that it looks its best no matter what light you’re sitting in.