Dutch debut of this new 'super group' of Irish music.

The Gloaming

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Early in 2011, by way of experiment, they met for a jamming session in the studio. At the end of that same year, the Irish Times hailed them as the new supergroup of Irish Music. Now, 18 months later, the Gloaming make their Dutch debut at the Holland Festival. Their instant success does not come as such a surprise though when you consider that all members of the band are seasoned recording artists in Irish music, some having worked with such names as Antony & the Johnsons, David Byrne and Yoko Ono. With The Gloaming they are breaking new ground, stretching the boundaries of Irish folk music. Their performances are virtuoso yet subtle, powerful yet controlled, with beautiful melodies and, most of all, revelling in the sheer joy of music!



music, performance
The Gloaming:
Thomas Bartlett
Dennis Cahill
Martin Hayes
Iarla O’Lionaird
Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh

Their live performances so far have been revelatory ... Future dates are likely to cement them as one of the great forces in Irish music.

The Irish Times

background information

It's been three years since the Holland Festival has offered traditional music from the British Isles, when the famous English duo Spiers & Boden took to the stage at the Bimhuis. This year it will be traditional but not as we've previously known it, when the Bimhuis receives four veterans of Irish music, joined by the young American pianist Thomas Bartlett. Hailed as the new super group of Irish music by the Irish Times in 2011, The Gloaming will now make their Dutch debut at the Holland Festival.

The members of The Gloaming got together at the Grouse Lodge Studios in County Westmeath early in 2011 as an experiment. As they were all seasoned recording artists, nobody had anything to prove. Maybe that is the secret of the band, who have almost casually changed the the face of Irish music tradition. The result is virtuosic yet subtle, powerful yet controlled, with beautiful melodies and showing a real joy of music!

In August 2011 the band made their sold-out debut at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. A recording of this concert has been released on EP. This more than 20 minute long medley shows the versatility of The Gloaming: a traditionalsean-nós song with low key piano accompaniment blends into a slow fiddle melody, which gradually speeds up in different phases, the instruments taking over from each other and culminating in an exciting dance with Keith Jarret style piano improvisation by Thomas Bartlett.



The American pianist and singer Thomas Bartlett, born in 1981, certainly doesn't shy away from crossing genre boundaries. “The only music I want to be identified with,” he once said in an interview, “is good music.” His approach has resulted in many collaborations with a range of different artists, including Antony and the Johnsons, Nico Muhly, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Bebel Gilberto, The National and Yoko Ono. He releases his solo albums under the name of Doveman.


Iarla Ó Lionaird (1964) is a prominent singer in the Irish tradition of sean-nós, which means 'old style'. This traditionally unaccompanied style of singing is characterised by a nasal sound, lots of ornament, especially in the higher ranges, and long phrasing. Ó Lionaird is also known for his work in the 1990's with the electronic cross-over band Afro Celt Sound System. He has also performed Irish folk-influenced contemporary work by the Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy, a former pupil of Louis Andriessen.


Fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (1979) was born in Dublin and is known for his innovations of the traditional style of playing. His style has been strongly influenced by the playing techniques of the Irish bagpipe (uilleann pipes), which, amongst other things, is evidenced by the drones he uses. He has also done a lot of archive research into Irish music. As well as the Irish fiddle, he also plays the hardanger fiddle, a Norwegian instrument with sympathetic or understrings, which resonate under the influence of the other strings, providing an echo-like sound.


Dennis Cahill was born in 1954 in Chicago of Irish parents. He immersed himself in the local folk scene and studied classical guitar at the Chicago Music College.


Martin Hayes (1961) was born in County Clare in Ireland and has for years been regarded as one of the masters on the traditional fiddle. He has contributed to many recordings, is the artistic leader of the Masters of Tradition Festival in County Cork and is a six-time winner of the All Ireland Fiddle Championship.

Dennis Cahill and Martin Hayes have been playing together since they first met in the late 1980's in Chicago, at first in a jazz rock band, later playing traditional Irish repertoire. Since 1995 they have been a successful duo and have released three albums. Cahill's often restrained and sparse accompaniments of Hayes' fiddle solos is regarded as an important innovation for guitar in Irish music. “I would not be able to play this music without Dennis,” Hayes once said in an interview. “We're like two hands on a piano.”

This performance was made possible with support by