Cara Dillon obviously brought many of her loyal fans out to see and hear her performance at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh tonight, and it is easy to understand why. Cara Dillon has one of nature’s great gifts – a clear and pure Soprano voice that effortlessly allows her to move across any style and genre of music that she chooses to sing. Cara Dillon may have her spiritual and emotional roots firmly planted in Irish traditional music, but her performance tonight was one of a performer at comfortable ease with a far wider musical landscape.
Opening the set with “Maid Of Culmore” and “Jacket so Blue”, the traditional core of the evening was firmly established, but we swiftly moved onto a different feel with “Shotgun Down the Avalanche”.
Cara Dillon is currently about to go into the studio to record a new album (no title yet), and a few songs, traditional and new, were performed from this one. I’m not giving those titles away here in case you are still planning to catch up with the tour. There are of course many other songs in the back catalogue of Cara Dillon and we visited some of them in this performance – “She’s Like The Swallow” from the first solo album “Cara Dillon” in 2001 to “Bright Morning Star” from the 2014 album “A Thousand Hearts”.
In the set tonight and dedicated to two little girls attending their first concert, was Cara’s song from the Disney Movie “Tinkerbell and The Great Fairy Rescue” – the beautiful lullaby “Come Flying With Me”.
Anyone out there though thinking that Cara Dillon is just another traditional song singer or someone who sings commercial Disney songs in movies should listen to the words of “There Were Roses”. This powerful, hard hitting and poignant song is about how good friends from different religious backgrounds with no religious or political agendas of their own found themselves caught up as innocent bystanders in the mindless violence of Northern Ireland’s troubles years of sectarian divide and violence . Cara Dillon sings this song not only as a reminder of the futile loss of life during those troubled times but sadly also as a warning to the very troubled times that our world is currently in at the moment. Some songs have a message that simply has to be heard, and this is one of them.
Cara Dillon has a very easy going relationship with her audience, and it is a bit like being invited to sit down with her in her living room. The humour with the band is warm and the stories behind the songs and about her own upbringing are told to you as if you were an old friend. One of the songs to come out of that personal story telling is itself a story told to Cara, the story of “The Living Wake”…when someone would be leaving their homeland to head abroad to try and find a better life and would usually never be seen again by their family and friends.
Cara Dillon of course could not get away from The Queen’s Hall without singing “The Parting Glass”. A perfect song for an audience after a classic performance by a classic singer, and an audience just waiting until the next time they meet Cara Dillon again.
Adding so much to the sound and laid back feeling of the evening were Cara’s band Sam Lakeman (piano, guitar), Ed Boyd (guitar), Luke Daniels (accordion) and Niall Murphy (fiddle). Luke Daniels also opened this evening’s show with his own set played not on accordion but guitar.
Review by Tom King