I have a suggestion for you. But first: context.
I am “a huge fan” of The Gloaming. Last night at the Concert Hall was about about the fifth or sixth time I’ve seen them live, including twice on their first tour. I’ve listened to their music regularly from day one. I’ve interviewed them, cogitated about them, and written extensively about them.
I’m also a long way from tiring of them. Last night was brilliant. There’s no question about it: these are five amazingly talented artists (in the modernist mode) in top form, digging deep into their individual creative and technical abilities to produce very beautiful (often melancholy) music for the world we live in (often saddening). A key to the deserved success of the group, as far as I see it, is that each one of them has established, in very dedicated careers, their own unmistakable sound but has committed one hundred per cent of it to this group. (Significantly, that’s not true of some collaborations in Irish traditional music.)
So, what’s the issue?
Well, now that the honeymoon high is well and truly over, with the “difficult second album” out of the way and well on its way to equal success, I think it’s time you, the media, began looking further into the music that “surrounds” The Gloaming. I’m delighted and not a bit surprised that the collective success came so immediately (in a sense) to this ‘supergroup’, but they are not alone in their world. Thinking, writing and sharing as if they are is to mislead and to miss out on some great music and cultural insight.
Essentially, I’m keen to see more of the bright light that you’ve been shining on The Gloaming reaching others in their world.
So if you’re a DJ presenting a radio programme or an arts journalist writing about new music or a festival programmer or a TV show researcher planning an item about what’s cool in Irish music, please don’t just give us another feature or put another list together displaying how The Gloaming are “making traditional music cool again”. Instead, why not ask yourself who else is out there responding to the same stimuli that have shaped The Gloaming, feeding The Gloaming with ideas (even antithetically), creating a context in which The Gloaming define themselves.
What you’ll find is a wealth of other bands and musicians producing a wide range of brilliant music (often less tinged with “the lonesome touch”, it has to be said) that owes something to traditional music – sometimes more, sometimes less.
Resisting the urge to suggest you dig deep into their sources (which might not fit your editorial brief, though it’s a fabulous experience), and acknowledging that The Gloaming are perhaps currently the MOST coherent, productive and (arguably) talented of the lot (for good reasons), here’s just a few of the current acts you should check out now that you’ve already shown your love for The Gloaming and the way their sound seems to fit so well with our contemporary culture:
Lorcán Mac Mathúna
Winifred Horan, Mick McAuley, Colm O’Caoimh
Slow Moving Clouds
West Ocean String Quartet
Triúr (in which two members of The Gloaming feature!)