Every now and again The Scottishlandscape,org allows itself to stray away from the confines of Scotland in search of cultural ties around the world. The Irish folk singer Cara Dillon from County Londonderry falls into this "cultural appropriation" for her celtic roots and folk music tradition. She is currently touring the UK and last Saturday was performing in London.
Finally after 2 years of COVID we are being treated once again to the pleasures of live music and in the folk and trad music scene every performer does not miss out on the opportunity to express their delight at being back in front of a live audience.
And Cara Dillon was no exception as she returned with her husband and musical soul mate Sam Lakeman to perform at Kings Place in London, performing in the stunning Hall One where her dulcet tones melted melodically around the oak-veneer setting. Both the hall and her voice were a perfect match.
The 90 minute concert drew mainly on songs from her 2017 album Wanderer but opened with one of her iconic songs "Blue Mountain River" from her 2011 album Cara Dillon - originally released in 2001 but re-arranged by Sam and re-released on Charcoal records.
In between songs we were treated to gentle craic - family life and coping with grunting teenagers, Cara's songs bursts during lockdown and Sam's "de-realisation" moments as his painkillers kicked in - all recounted in a manner which was as soft as the music itself.
There is no doubting the talent of Sam Lakeman and his ability to provide the perfect accompaniment to Cara on both piano and acoustic guitar - his playing is delicately respectful to her voice whilst at the same time possessing its own unique sensitivity.
Cara and Sam have worked together now for the best part of 25 years and their musical complicity is profound and moves those lucky enough to hear them. Sam's talents in arrangement allows Cara's voice to truly take flight and for an audience to offer up the silence needed to capture the fleeting touch of her tones. There was no better example of the duo's perfect relationship than when they performed "Blackwater Side" introduced by Sam as his "all time favorite folk song,"
Unsurprisingly coming from Ireland the lyrics of some of her songs draw on the themes of leaving and emigrating - a theme not lost on the audience on Saturday in the wake of the refugees fleeing war in Ukraine and was added poignancy when Cara introduced "The Leaving Song" composed after the story of a family leaving wake retold to her by her 90 year old grandmother back in Dungiven.
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