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Review: The Gloaming, Hall Two, Sage Gateshead

Accomplished five-piece The Gloaming give good value at The Sage as Martin Ellis found out

****

Irish American group The Gloaming
Irish American group The Gloaming
 

I had read that The Gloaming are an Irish/American folk supergroup and I had heard a short sample of their music on a YouTube clip sent out by their record company.

However, I still didn’t really know what to expect.

The concert was the second of only three UK dates and therefore a rare opportunity to catch the band.

The Gloaming are a five-piece ensemble with a slightly unusual line-up for a folk band. The lead throughout most of the concert was taken by fiddlers Martin Hayes and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, accompanied by Martin’s longstanding musical partner Dennis Cahill on guitar. All very traditional.

 

Pianist Thomas Bartlett’s contribution to The Gloaming sound is perhaps best described as avant garde. It wouldn’t be out of place in a free-form jazz band. Larla Ó Lionáird is a singer in the sean-nós (Irish for ‘old style’) tradition. His voice is another instrument, lending an extra dimension to the band. He also used computers, perhaps most effectively when he emulated a harmonium.

Jigs, reels and traditional tunes are the foundation of The Gloaming’s music, all performed with delicate precision. They finished their concert with a piece titled Opening Set, which may appear an odd way to end but it worked well as the finale.

The term supergroup is associated with huge ego rockstars who hate each other. The Gloaming, however, are clearly a group of friends who enjoy playing together. I was impressed.

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