“If you’re not breaking a sweat you’re doing something wrong,” joked fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh gently with the audience, although it must be said this concert by Irish-American supergroup of which he’s one-fifth rarely felt like it was about to break into a ceilidh.
Deep into autumn, the time of the gloaming itself might have passed by the time The Gloaming took to the stage, but the weather over Edinburgh had seemed almost designed to accompany this band. Still, crisp and somewhat eerie, with a dream-like, twilit quality.
The Gloaming ****
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
There was no flashy showmanship here, no big stage production, just a performance which concentrated upon the musical qualities of all involved. Ó Raghallaigh played his own adapted five-string version of a Hardanger fiddle, creating a droning, orchestral sound, while the professorial former Afro Celt Sound System fulcrum Iarla Ó Lionáird moved between piano and floating, ethereal sean-nos song.
Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and American guitarist Dennis Cahill have long worked as a duo, while American grand pianist Thomas Bartlett has worked alongside such non-traditional names as
The National and Sufjan Stephens.
It was the latter’s dry New York tones and inventively virtuosic playing which lent the greatest sense of the contemporary to songs like the Irish-Scots meditation Oisin’s Song, The Gloaming possess a real sense of emotive depth and range to appeal far beyond a roots audience.