The Gloaming: Live at the NCH review – capturing their mesmerising essence

Latest offering an amalgam of 17 sold-out National Concert Hall shows

Live at the NCH
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Artist: The Gloaming
Genre: Traditional
Label: Real World Records

Their reputation truly precedes them: what started as a glimmer of an idea in 2013 blossomed into the phenomenon that we now know as The Gloaming. With the Irish musical tradition providing their foundation, this all-star quintet of Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Iarla Ó Lionáird and Thomas Bartlett have strayed wide and far, down freeform jazz highways and improvisational byways, occasionally detouring in the direction of contemporary classical sounds along their picaresque way.

With two critically acclaimed albums released, this live recording is an amalgam of judicious outtakes from some of their 17 sold-out shows at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.They unquestionably capture the essence of this band whose live performances are akin to mesmerising, whirling dervishes.

Just six tracks have been siphoned from the archives by Thomas Bartlett, but they clock in at just over an hour, and include a 13½-minute freewheeling piece with The Sailor's Bonnet as its starting point, while Iarla Ó Lionáird's vocals shimmer on The Pilgrim's Song and Cucanandy. The deliciously creaking timbre of Ó Raghallaigh's Hardanger fiddle jousts and plays with Hayes's pure lines.

A completist's dream.

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts