Tomorrow The Gloaming celebrate five years as a band. On 20 August 2011, Martin Hayes (violin, fiddle), Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman (piano), Iarla O'Lionaird (vocals), Dennis Cahill (guitar) and Caoimhin O'Raghallaigh assembled at The National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland to play their first ever concert. The show was sold out and the band created a synthesis of traditions from the start: Irish, ambient, well-composed but fluid & full of improvisation. You can relive those first moments via this free download. (It's also available on major streaming services if you click that way.)
We're happy to report the band's growth continues apace, and that our February release of The Gloaming's second self-titled album (ok, everyone calls it 2) has started earning 'Album-of-the-Year' buzz just over halfway into said year. (Ok, most of the reviews were from 'Album-of-the-Year-So-Far' type lists but we thought you'd get annoyed about all those hyphens.)
NPR Music singled out “The Pilgrim’s Song” as one of the year’s best songs calling it “Wistful, tender and completely transporting.” The Irish Times placed 2 among their top five in its ‘half-time report’ saying it takes the group on “Powerful, rich and deeply textured new adventures... A second album which leaps and jumps further out into the wilds.”
On the strength these critical notices, the band sold out the majority of their American shows — first a half-dozen dates in the American southeast in March, then a sold out date at Washington, DC's Kennedy Center in June, not to mention five sold out dates at their old haunt, Dublin's National Concert Hall. Further tours are being scheduled for the United Kingdom in September and Europe and North America in March and April of 2017. Here are the details we have so far.
United Kingdom 2016
• Sep 21 Colton Hall: Bristol
• Sep 22 Royal Festival Hall: London
• Sep 23 Bridgewater Hall: Manchester
• Sep 24 Usher Hall: Edinburgh
• Sep 25 Symphony Hall: Birmingham
Europe & North America 2017
• Feb 25 Philharmonie: Paris, France
• Feb 26 Die Glocke: Bremen, Germany
• Feb 27 Elbphilharmonie: Hamburg, Germany
• Mar 01 DR Koncerthuset: København S, Denmark
• Mar 03 Muziekgebouw: Amsterdam, Netherlands
• Mar 05 Philharmonie: Luxembourg, Luxembourg
• Apr 20 State Theatre: Portland, ME, United States
But before we get too ahead of ourselves in discussing 2017, can we agree it's already been a good year for the group? Yes!
Handy segue, that, because we wanted to tell you it's been a special year for the individual members too. In an effort to highlight what makes each musician in The Gloaming tick, the band have launched the first in a series of streaming playlists called "Deep Into The Gloaming" highlighting their influences & inspirations. The first is from pianist/producer Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman and ranges all from reggae icon Bob Marley to South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, from Texas crooner Lyle Lovett to downtown NYC innovator Arto Lindsay. (We've seeded it with a few tracks by The Gloaming and Doveman for good measure.)
Bartlett has been having the Best Summer Ever. And that playlist has nothing to do with it's Bestness. Rather the Best part has been how busy he's been recording with a veritable who’s who of left-of-center North American musicians: Sufjan Stevens, David Byrne, Martha Wainwright, Father John Misty, Shara Nova (nee Worden), and Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt have all paid visits to The Dwelling—the name of Bartlett’s new studio in midtown Manhattan. Oh yeah, Anna Calvi too — and we're only setting her apart because she's British.
Meanwhile Iarla Ó Lionáird — who NPR Music lauded for having “one of the world’s most beautiful voices” in their mid-year write up—made a scene-stealing cameo in the Oscar 'Best Picture' nominee Brooklyn. In it, he performs a stripped back version of The Gloaming's 2 song "Casadh an tSugain" — leading to a namecheck for the band by Terry Gross on her Fresh Air program when she interviewed the film's director and star. Iarla's connection to Brooklyn will extend from fiction to his actual zipcode this fall when he stars in a new Brooklyn Academy of Music production as part of their Next Wave Festival. And to extend this weird metaphor, he'll later be just one state away, as a long-term visiting fellow at New Jersey's Princeton University. He will remain ‘in residence’ there through spring 2017, teaching a course called “Making Tunes” this autumn, and “Introduction to Irish Studies” in the spring semester. We hear the school is pretty decent. Pretty sure he'll make it even better.
The other members of the group have remained busy too: Fiddle player Martin Hayes made a notable cameo on Yo Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble’s latest release on Sony Sing Me Home— putting him in the good company of other guests Rhiannon Giddens, Bill Frisell, Roomful of Teeth, Toumani Diabate, et al. Meanwhile, second fiddler (no hierarchy implied) Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh has been resident artist at the National Concert Hall of Ireland's Kevin Barry Recital Room details of which can be found here.