Jan 29, 2014

The Gloaming

It's cold. I'm old. I curse to myself when I have to go outside. My daily soundtrack is all the more important in this weather – especially when I need to act like I don't even notice the cold (scandalously ripping off hat and gloves in subzero temps and smiling provocatively at cosseted drivers as if I feel sorry for their wimpy, fat bottoms), all so people who think I am pathetic for never learning to drive feel pathetic themselves for never learning to walk in anything but perfect weather. Do I sound bitter? It's not me, it's the bitter cold. You'd swear I was digging ditches or working the railroads in the cold. I'm lucky to have decent cold-weather gear and a roof over my head and a dog with the manners to poop early in the walk so I don't have to take my gloves off fifteen minutes out. I don't take any of this for granted.

Still, the soundtrack is essential to keeping you moving—on wheels or legs—in the depths of winter. I've been listening to audio books for much of the winter: The Luminaries, The Valley of Amazement, The Signature of All Things, and Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy have braved the cold with me, and sometimes sat with me long after my walks as I have thawed over a pot of tea. I need to find some Irish audiobooks, with Irish narrators, to walk with me, and need to scour Audible and iTunes (and maybe, see if there is an Irish audio book site?), but for now I'm mixing it up with new music.

Nialler9 is my go-to when I need to know everything I am missing in Irish music, which is usually everything. This morning, a post introduced me to the Gloaming, a group I made a (promptly misfiled) mental note of a few months back when I heard mention of them on NPR.

The group includes three Irish artists—singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, legendary Clare fiddler Martin Hayes, and Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh (playing hardanger fiddle)—and two American musicians, guitarist Dennis Cahill and pianist Thomas Bartlett. The band performed their first tour in Ireland in August 2011 including a sold out debut show at The National Concert Hall, Dublin. Summer 2013 saw much-heralded concerts in London, Amsterdam, Paris, and New York. I missed all that activity because my head is—depending on the season—in the sand/snow, but not to worry because the Gloaming have just released their debut album.

I've been listening to the Gloaming on Spotify this morning and it is incredible. At first listen, it's exciting and new, and at a deeper level, familiar and old. The music is at times spare and abstract, with the musicians pulling and stretching traditional and contemporary boundaries to create something truly special. Pulls at the heart, and warms it, too. The perfect winter soundtrack.

The Gloaming on FB
Real World Records
Download The Gloaming on Amazon or iTunes

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