The Gloaming

The Gloaming 3

(Real Word/Planet)


The Gloaming is surely the only band rooted in Irish traditional music that would dare to begin an album with prepared piano. When Iarla O Lionaird joins – with an instantly haunting melody sung in Gaelic – you have an encapsulation of why this is not just a good band, but a great one. Firstly, it continues to find imaginative ways to expand the possibilities of Irish music (and thereby ensures the tradition not only survives, but thrives). Secondly, this expansion is not achieved by borrowing frills and sounds from farther afield, but by digging down beneath the emerald green to this music’s wellspring, and by bathing all they do in that wellspring.

Even if you don’t give a toss for traditions, Irish or otherwise, this music has a profundity that few can match in any idiom, and this applies whether it’s at its saddest, or is flecked with a muted joy, like seeing a child laughing silently through a thick mist. Each member is pivotal: the aforementioned O Lionaird, the peerless Martin Hayes (fiddle), Caoimhin O Raghallaigh (hardanger d’amore), Dennis Cahill (guitar) and Thomas Bartlett (piano, production and a sprinkling of inimitable magic dust). Their best yet? I think so.