Best Global Music Of 2014

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Monday December 15, 2014

From NPR

Best Global Music Of 2014
By: Anastasia Tsioulcas

The Gloaming: ‘The Gloaming’

Bands are too often hyped as supergroups, but The Gloaming is the real deal – and one that breaks free of the traditional boundaries of their genre. Featuring an unusual lineup of singer, two fiddles, guitar and piano, The Gloaming is by any measure an all-star ensemble of Irish music. It includes three Irish artists: the superb singer Iarla Ô Lionaird (who grew up as a traditional sean-nós vocalist but is also a veteran of the experimental Afro-Celt Sound System), the legendary fiddler Martin Hayes and the younger player Caoimhín Ô Raghallaigh, who plays a 10-stringed violin that he calls a hardanger d’amore, with its five playing strings and five drone-like sympathetic strings. The band is rounded out by two Americans, the masterly guitarist Dennis Cahill and, perhaps surprisingly, pianist Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman), better known as a colleague of Antony and the Johnsons, The National, Nico Muhly and Sam Amidon.

This is an album full of deeply felt, wonderfully empathetic performances rooted in tradition but scoured of sentimentality. The traditional idioms of reels and jigs emerge here and there, but The Gloaming brings in harmonies, melodic ideas and textures that darken and expand far beyond “traditional Irish music.” In short, this is the rare album that might well transform the syntax of a whole style.

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