It almost goes without saying that Martin Hayes (fiddle) and Dennis Cahill (guitar) have shaped Irish traditional music for the last quarter century and are recognised the world over for their sublime lyrical and melodic interpretation of almost everything they touch. What has kept them fresh and relevant across the years is their willingness to collaborate with musicians as diverse as Paul Simon and Yo Yo Ma while always returning to those within their own fold. They still perform as a duo but have periodic outings with the bigger sound that comes from the 5-piece The Gloaming, formed in 2011. Live At The NCH refers to Dublin’s National Concert Hall which now has become an annual pilgrimage for a seven night bonanza. Would that I could be there!
Cleverly, the band’s producer Thomas Bartlett started with six tracks from the band’s two studio albums and, for the live performance, allowed them to expand into six lengthy arrangements that encompassed other songs and tunes. Iarla O Lionaird’s plaintive Irish language vocals dominate three tracks, though my promotional copy gives no clue as to what the songs are about. Instrumentally, the sparse piano of Thomas Bartlett is striking but what really intrigued me was the Hardanger d’Amour (5+5) Norwegian fiddle of Caoimhin O Raghallaigh. The top five bowed gut strings plus the five sympathetic strings below give the fiddle a wonderful resonant sound. It’s both sonically and visually pleasing. Indeed, the whole album transports the listener to another calmer, holistic place.
At this years 2015 Radio 2 Folk Awards, Lifetime Achievements went to the legendary “Peace Trained” musician Yusuf / Cat Stevens and Grammy Award-winning “double lifetime” artist Loudon Wainwright III.
Ewan MacColl was inducted into the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame exists to recognise the special contribution of an individual to the world of folk music; someone whose impact and influence has had a lasting impression.
Meredydd Evans is the 2015 recipient of The Good Tradition Award. The award is given to a person, group or organisation for their contribution to the preservation, dissemination and continuance/progression of traditional music over a number of years.
BEST DUO WINNERS – Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
Nominations: Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker O’Hooley & Tidow Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar Chris While & Julie Matthews
BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK WINNER – Samhradh Samhradh – The Gloaming
Nominations: Bedlam – Stick In The Wheel Handsome Molly – The Furrow Collective Manus Mo Rùin – Cruinn Samhradh Samhradh – The Gloaming
HORIZON AWARD WINNERS – The Rails
Nominations: Ange Hardy Maz O’Connor Stick In The Wheel The Rails
BEST ORIGINAL SONG WINNERS – Swim To The Star – Peggy Seeger/Calum MacColl (performed by Peggy Seeger)
Nominations: Swim To The Star – Peggy Seeger/Calum MacColl (performed by Peggy Seeger) The Necklace Of Wrens – Michael Hartnett (performed by The Gloaming) The Pitmen Poets – Jez Lowe The Spider And The Wolf – Paul Simmonds (performed by Naomi Bedford)
BBC RADIO 2 YOUNG FOLK AWARD WINNERS – Talisk
Nominations: Cup O’Joe Roseanne Reid Talisk Wildwood Kin
MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR WINNER – Sam Sweeney
Nominations: Martin Green Will Pound Sam Sweeney Kathryn Tickell
BEST ALBUM WINNER – Tincian by 9Bach
Nominations: Fair Warning – The Rails Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour – Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker Sweet Visitor – Nancy Kerr The Moral Of The Elephant – Martin & Eliza Carthy Tincian – 9Bach
BEST GROUP WINNERS – The Young ‘Uns
Nominations: Bellowhead The Furrow Collective The Gloaming The Young ‘Uns
FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR WINNER – Nancy Kerr
Nominations: Cara Dillon Julie Fowlis Nancy Kerr Jez Lowe