Awards 2017 Winner

Fusion

The Gloaming
2 on Real World

Fusion
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The term 'supergroup' is over-used, but it's hard to think of any other word to describe the felicitous teaming of Irish trad fiddler extraordinaire Martin Hayes, American guitarist Dennis Cahill, sean nos singer Iarla O Lionaird, Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, who plays the droning ten-string Hardanger d'amore fiddle, and the adventurous New York pianist Thomas Bartlett (known as Doveman in his indie-rock incarnation). These five master musicians, each with highly successful individual careers, first came together in 2011 for a sold-out show at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, attended by Ireland's Prime Minister, Enda Kenny. International touring followed and their self-titled debut was voted album of the year in 2014 beating off competition from Hozier, Aphex Twin, Sinead O'Connor, U2 and Damien Rice to win the RTE Choice Music Prize (the Irish equivalent of the Mercury).

Click to listenTheir second album is an expansive set rooted in the rich traditions of Irish folk music but delivered with a contemporaneous, experimental and highly personal sensibility. Haunting and emotionally charged, the intuitive ensemble playing is topped by O Lionaird's ethereal vocals, recently featured in the movie Brooklyn and first heard more than 20 years ago with the Afro Celt Sound System.

By Nigel Williamson