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CARA DILLON - Wanderer

CARA DILLON - Wanderer
Charcoal Records CHARCD009

The seventh solo release from internationally celebrated Irish singer Cara Dillon presents 10 reflective and wistful songs themed around longing, nostalgia and yearning for one’s cherished home place, what the Welsh call hiraeth.

Opening and closing with discreetly sparse piano and airily atmospheric strings, the whole is suffused with an intimate and alluringly haunting quality. Accompanied mainly by producer and husband Sam Lakeman’s brilliantly empathetic piano (and acoustic guitar), paced with gentle grace and lightness of touch, Cara has ample space freely and emotively to express the songs. Guests Justin Adams (electric guitar), Ben Nicholls (bass), John Smith (backing vocals, acoustic guitar), Kris Drever (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Niall Murphy (fiddle) also make assuredly subtle contributions to music of crystalline clarity and calm.

Two original pieces, The Leaving Song and Lakeside Swans, sit amidst several rearrangements of traditional songs (The Tern And The Swallow, Blackwater Side, The Banks Of The Foyle, Sailor Boy, The Faughan Side, The Banks Of The Bann) and their renditions of Dick Gaughan’s version of Both Sides The Tweed and Shaun Davey’s Dubhdara. So, whether bank or shore (lake, loch, stream, river, bay and sea), there is no shortage of waterside musing and melancholia!

Beautifully balanced and befittingly modest in its movement, the prevailing gentleness of mood is ideal for conveying the emotions of leaving and longing through Cara’s enchantingly natural and pure vocal expression. A snippet of her epigraphic statement about cherishing her beloved Derry, after so much personal peregrine journeying, provides a suitably simple summation: It is calm, it is clear.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 122 of The Living Tradition magazine.