The Gloaming 3 by The Gloaming

Irish traditional/contemporary ensemble The Gloaming follow up their ground-breaking and bestselling previous two albums with The Gloaming 3. There’s nothing original about the title, but the band’s intention to bring Irish traditional music into the modern era is continued in this album. When they started playing together, two-guitar duo Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill never imagined they would perform at some of the most esteemed venues in the world, but with The Gloaming they have been doing exactly this since 2011. Bringing in rock producer and piano-playing Irish and minimalist music fan Thomas Bartlett was the master stroke that brought all five members together and made The Gloaming the amazing collaboration that it is. Once again traditional singer Iarla Ó Lionáird has brought along Gaelic poetry to give the songs a fully atmospheric treatment.

These arrangements seem more daring and creative than previous recordings from The Gloaming. The opening track, ‘Meáchan Rudaí (The Weight of Things)’ has got a lot going on musically. It opens with repetitive keyboards, and then gradually develops with incredibly soulful singing, hybrid fiddle drones and scrapes from Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, beautiful piano accompaniment from Bartlett and some Irish fiddle tunes interspersed throughout. The second track, ‘The Lobster’ is classic The Gloaming: a slow fiddle tune that gradually brings in other instruments – piano, guitar, and a second fiddle – all the while cranking up the intensity and excitement. The third track, ‘Áthas (Joy)’ sees Ó Lionáird deliver another soulful performance and dials things back before the next set of tunes – the stately fiddle and piano piece, ‘The Pink House’. All ten tracks are impeccably played and arranged.

The Gloaming 3 will certainly be in many of 2019’s ‘best of’ lists, and is a great start for new music this year.

Paul Barr is a music specialist at Readings Carlton.