Folk music in Poland was always treated ambivalent. In kindergarten, then in elementary school we were forced to act in costumes to various appeals and academies. Then somewhere for a while we may be awared of the Kapela Ze Wsi Warszawa, the phenomenon of jazz-folk Besquidians, but really it was always only Brathanki or Golec Uorkiestra ... And then just Cleo, Donatan and busty model making butter. Artists suitable for Eurovision or bank advertising.
The Irish have always been proud of their folk. They defended it against the British, to quote famous rebel song, for eight hundred years. In every city you'll find music shop dedicated to the traditional music, where you'll get a small flute or beautifully painted traditional bodhran extra. In Dublin they say that for the true folk music you have to go to the west coast, to the legendary pub owned by Matt Molloy, flautist of The Chieftans. Can you get something new in that crowded music market of irish music?
You can, oh God, you can!
The Gloaming rose in 2011 from the merger of forces five legendary musicians of Irish surnames: Hayes, Bartlett, Ó Lionaird, Cahill and Ó Raghallaigh. The same year, the gentlemen made their debut in the famous Dublin's National Concert Hall, selling out all the tickets, which is something absolutely extraordinary. The first album titled simply "The Gloaming" was released in 2014 by (again, the legendary, of course!) Peter Gabriel's label Real World Records. The album has caused a lot of publicity thanks to incredible for debut release, reviews. Many of the prestigious titles awarded "The Gloaming" maximum scores, called it "the best record of the year"; album which was released in January, beginning of the year! The song "Samhradh Samhradh" received the award for best song in the traditional music category at BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
A few months ago I gor their second LP called, even simpler - "2".
The album was released by Real World Records again, in two formats, CD and as a double LP; Two heavy 180g plates wrapped in matt gatefold, with beautiful photo of the group. Ordinary white envelope inside are perhaps the only element of this release, I do not like. Paper creates a lot of static, sometimes records are "glued in" so hard in the envelope, that it's difficult to remove them. The rets of the release is great! The simple, neat and beautiful. Cover would be suitable to put it in a frame and hang above the fireplace, but then you won't listen to the music. And you have to listen to this music! This is not a folk in the meaning of pub chants, such as "Molly Malone" or covered hundreds of times "Whiskey in the Jar." Most of the lyrics are written and sung in the Irish language, almost forgotten gealic, used only in small villages of west coast of Ireland. Guitar, violin, fiddle and piano accompanies beautiful voice of Iarla Ó Lionaird and lead us through Ireland by hand. By wet, wind plucked moors of Wicklow Mountains, the fjords of Connamara, over the Cliffs of Moher, far over the Kerry Mountains, the summit of Carrantouhill, where we see the bay of Dingle, and...
Well, I saw this, I was there. And there is Ireland in these sounds. Some of these songs are soaked in rain, disheveled by wind, tired distant wanderings through the wilds of County Mayo. And even though they all have the structure of a traditional Irish reel, the whole piece is extremely well considered. Without looking at the biography of the musicians you can hear how well educated they are. There is something jazzy in this album, something so much an original and mystical at the same time, which does not allow you to move away from these sounds. Absolutely the most beautiful album I've heard in a long time.