The night that The Gloaming made their onstage debut at Dublin’s National Concert Hall in 2011 stands now as a landmark moment in Irish music’s fabled history: here was a group, after all, squarely rooted in Irish traditions, actively pulling that past into the twenty-first century, with the pedigree to do it. The concert sold out before any music had been written, let alone heard. During the subsequent seven years, The Gloaming has probed every aspect of Irish folk music, pushing against its historical confines. Founded by three-time Irish fiddle champion Martin Hayes, this ever-imaginative group reconsiders each traditional element in search of fresh interpretations, from medieval Gaelic lyrics to the structure of the songs. The result, raves The Guardian, “is a staggering display of both emotion and virtuosity.”
To rethink the idioms of Irish reels and jigs, Hayes recruited a slate of international folk and classical luminaries: hardanger fiddler Caoimhín O Raghallaigh, Chicago blues guitarist Dennis Cahill, and powerful singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, who delivers Gaelic lyrics in the impassioned sean-nós style and has been praised as “one of the most dramatic voices in contemporary music.” New York pianist and producer Thomas Bartlett — best known for his essential contributions to the music of Sufjan Stevens, The National, and St. Vincent — is The Gloaming’s Svengali, the one who helps reimagine Ireland’s past for the present. The Gloaming, last seen at Duke Performances in 2016, works elements of jazz and experimental music into a distinctly Irish foundation, creating a transcendent experience that recalls the climactic highs of post-rock.
“Deeply felt, wonderfully empathetic performances that are rooted in tradition but scoured of sentimentality… The Gloaming is by any measure an all-star ensemble.” — NPR
“One of the great forces in Irish music.” — Irish Times
“All around outstanding… The Gloaming continues to defy expectations.” — Paste