“The Gloaming [is] full of these simple tenets about space and solitude nestled cheek-by-jowl with wild, fierce, unruly, buckwild moments when the sounds take flight and pull you along within their slipstream... It’s an album which is breath- taking, groundbreaking, grandstanding and any other accolade you want to apply from your big bag of superlatives.” —Irish Times
The Gloaming dwells at a musical crossroads, enhancing traditional Irish music’s rich, melancholic tones with modern hues of jazz, contemporary classical, and experimental music. While Ireland is a small nation, the diversity in styles between traditional musicians is a thing of no small wonder.
The backgrounds of The Gloaming’s three Irish members — fiddlers Martin Hayes and Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh and sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird — reflect the breadth and color of this ecosystem. Hayes hails from County Clare, where a slow, contemplative, and melancholic sweep of fiddle music holds sway amongst its musicians. A move to America burnished his sound with new idioms, ranging from Arvo Pärt to Sigur Rós and brought this age-old sound into a modern setting without losing its essence. Dublin-born Ó Raghallaigh’s head was turned by minimal, experimental sounds. His ability to mine the space and texture between the notes with his customized fiddle, part Norwegian Hardanger and part viola d’amore, has produced groundbreaking work. Ó Lionáird hails from West Cork, where Sean-nós singing — solo singing unaccompanied by any instrument — is the lingua franca. Passed down the generations, the songs cover a multitude of material: historical events, love poems, bittersweet accounts of loss and emigration and, of course, songs about drinking and devilment.
With the addition of guitarist Dennis Cahill, an American from Dingle, County Kerry stock, and Thomas Bartlett, who has worked with Antony and the Johnsons, The Gloaming’s reels and jigs have attained new and exhilarating heights, taking them from London’s Royal Albert Hall to the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Mexico City’s Teatro de la Ciudad, the Philharmonie de Paris and now to The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.
Photo Credit: Rich Gilligan