They've only been together three years, forming in 2011 when virtuoso fiddle player Martin Hayes told some people he was thinking about starting a band. Speaking to the Guardian last year he said, "Then they told some other people who booked a concert at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. It was sold out before we'd even rehearsed a note together."
Gloaming means 'twilight' or 'dusk'.
The band members' collective credentials are seriously impressive... The Gloaming consists of three-times Irish fiddle champion Hayes, sean-nos vocalist Iarla Ó'Lionáird (formerly of Afro Celt Sound System), US guitarist Dennis Cahill, Dublin fiddler Caoimhín O Raghallaigh (it's no ordinary fiddle, it's a Norwegian instrument with 10 strings), and New York pianist Thomas Bartlett.
Bartlett was just 12 when he first met Hayes, having persuaded his parents to holiday in Ireland so he could follow his fiddle-playing idol on tour. He then went on to play piano for The National and Yoko Ono before Hayes asked him to join The Gloaming.
Their performances consistently wow... In July last year Michael D Higgins became the first Irish president to make an official state visit to Britain, a momentous occasion, and The Gloaming were offered the privilege of closing the show at the Royal Albert Hall. Their spellbinding performance prompted a standing ovation from everyone in attendance including Elvis Costello, Imedla May, Dermot O'leary and, of course, Higgins.
Their sound melds the traditional with contemporary and defies categorisation... They say they weave Irish folk tradition with the New York contemporary music scene. The New Yorker says, "The music of the Emerald Isle may have spread far and wide, but there is little that will be performed that sounds like The Gloaming."
Lead singer Iarla Ó'Lionáird is presenting Vocal Chords for RTÉ Lyric FM from May, kicking off with a Vocal Cords (http://vocalchords.ie) special with Sinead O’Connor on March 13 at 7pm. Iarla asks the questions why do we sing and what happens when we do? Sinead tells Iarla that singing is her life,“I couldn’t be me if I wasn’t singing… it’s the thing that keeps you hanging on... a rope is what I always think songs are and therefore singing is the same. Ropes that you can hang onto.”
It will be a story of contrasts at Vicar Street tonight as 10 acts vie for the Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year. At one end of the spectrum are world conquerers such as U2 and recently minted star Hozier, at the other the more obscure We Cut Corners and James Vincent McMorrow.