The Gloaming

The Gloaming

Released 17 January 2014

  1. Song 44
  2. Allistrum's March
  3. Necklace of Wrens
  4. The Girl Who Broke My Heart
  5. Freedom
  6. The Sailor's Bonnet
  7. The Old Bush
  8. Opening Set
  9. Hunting the Squirrel
  10. Samhradh Samhradh

Liner notes

The debut album, entitled The Gloaming, was released on Real World Records in January 2014. The reviews have been unanimous in their praise for The Gloaming’s unique approach to Irish music: their respect for the traditions whilst bringing an unconventional energy into the mix. At sell-out shows in prestigious venues internationally, audiences have been blown away by The Gloaming’s breathtaking virtuosity and spirited set.

The album featured in The Guardian’s “the one album you should hear this week”; was described as “a sumptuous debut” by Mojo Magazine; “brilliantly innovative” by Songlines Magazine; “contemporary music making at its very best” by The Irish Times; “thoroughly polished” by The Sunday Times. It’ll come as no surprise that ‘The Gloaming’ featured on many Best Albums of 2014 lists, including The Guardian, The Irish Times, Nialler9, NPR, Deezer, fRoots and Songlines.

The Gloaming were the worthy winners of the 2014 Meteor Choice Prize for Irish album of the year, fending off competition from other nominees, including albums from Hozier, Aphex Twin, Sinead O’Connor, U2 and Damien Rice.

These five virtuoso musicians started initial work on the album in early 2011. Each came at Irish music from their own perspective, bringing a slightly different take on the rich musical heritage and traditions. The music they began to create was sparse and beautiful, authentic and tune-filled, music that went on to be described by The Irish Times as “of an entirely different hue: neither slavishly traditional nor wilfully contemporary.”

Photo credit: Feargal Ward.

The traditional foundations are laid by fiddler Martin Hayes, who grew up in County Clare, his longstanding partner, the guitarist Dennis Cahill, and Dublin-born Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, who plays the fiddle, five-string viola, and hardanger fiddle (the national instrument of Norway). Iarla Ó Lionáird is a master of the sean-nós (“in the old way”) Irish song style, but is also well known as singer with Afro Celt Sound System, the group that made many ground-breaking recordings during the nineties. Young pianist Thomas Bartlett brings a twist to the ensemble, his “subtle piano playing is laced through The Gloaming’s music, moving it, and the music of Ireland, in captivating new directions.” (The New Yorker).

The Gloaming: An Introduction

The Gloaming carves new paths connecting the rich Irish folk tradition and the New York contemporary music scene. From haunting sean-nós songs to raucous folk explosions, they make music that is both ancient and utterly new.

The new album, simply entitled The Gloaming was produced by Thomas Bartlett (Glen Hansard, Sam Amidon) and mixed by Patrick Dillett (David Byrne & St. Vincent).

“The Gloaming fully exploit the rich sonic possibilities which Thomas Bartlett’s piano, Dennis Cahill’s guitar and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh’s fiddles brought to the party…. The warmth of Ó Lionáird’s voice was immediately evident, as were the show-stopping impact of Vermont-born Bartlett’s lines on the piano… The Gloaming’s newly forged songs were a revelation.” (The Irish Times).



  • Sumptuous debut by virtuoso supergroup ★★★★★ MOJO (UK)
  • Eliding Irish folk music with the contemporary New York art-music scene ★★★★★ Independent On Sunday (UK)
  • Steeped in traditional Celtic influences but bravely contemporary, The Gloaming are a five-man Irish-American supergroup who have created a distinctive style of their own. Exquisite ★★★★ The Guardian
  • This is contemporary music making at its very best: un-selfconscious, freewheeling and yet deeply thoughtful ★★★★★ The Irish Times (Ireland)
  • The opening Song 44, one of the highlights, is a sparse and spectral setting of an 800-year-old poem. The mood throughout is predominantly contemplative, with the Hardanger fiddle and guitar on Old Bush being a prime example. ... The band has proved itself with rapturous receptions on tour. ★★★★ London Evening Standard (UK)
  • This debut album from The Gloaming is exceptional. ★★★★★ The Arts Desk (UK)
  • The Gloaming is quite unlike anything Ireland has ever experienced before. fRoots (UK)

Further Listening

  • The Gloaming 2

    The Gloaming

    Released 26 February 2016

    The Gloaming dwells at the musical crossroads, enhancing traditional Irish music’s rich, melancholic tones with modern hues of jazz, contemporary classical and experimental music as they redefine what Irish music can be. This, their second album, was recorded at Real World studios during an inspired week in December 2015.
  • Music at Matt Molloy’s

    Various Artists

    Released 26 July 1992

    Some of Ireland's finest traditional musicians join legendary Chieftains' flute player Matt Molloy and guitarist Arty McGlynn in Molloy's own pub for a night of airy jigs, wild reels, dark pints and sad songs.

Further reading

Real World Records to release ‘lost album’ by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Discovered in the label's archives, the album captures the singer at the height of his vocal powers.

Bab L’ Bluz announce new album

Come, enter the world of Swaken, the much anticipated second album by Bab L' Bluz.

A Tribute to Ernesto ‘Teto’ Ocampo (1969-2023)

Sidestepper's Richard Blair remembers his late bandmate Teto.

Track of the day: ‘IWAIWA FUNK’ by Bab L’ Bluz

French-Moroccan power quartet Bab L' Bluz, release the third track from their album Swaken.