FolkWorld Issue 39 07/2009; Live Report by Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

A Soft and Tender Breeze
Cara Dillon @ Kammgarn, 6 Mar 2009, Schaffhausen

The road to Schaffhausen was long this Friday afternoon, with alternating snow and rainfall and several traffic jams, but finally I arrived at the Crossbox, checked quickly in and hurried to the Kammgarn, in order to have a decent meal in the restaurant before the gig. Thus I entered the venue well foddered and with my first pint of Guinness in my stomach.

I just installed myself with my camera near the stage and got another pint, when I spotted Ed Boyd from Flook tuning his guitar. So this was one of the four piece line-up I said to myself with a broad grin.

Cara Dillon

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Soon the others joined him, James O’Grady on uilleann pipes, whistles and fiddle, Sam Lakeman on piano and guitar and finally the charming singer and fiddle player Cara Dillon.

She opened the gig with the beautiful traditional song “She moved through the Fair” and her warm and clear voice instantly cast a spell on the audience; no sound disturbed Cara’s hauntingly beautiful performance. Sam Lakeman’s tender piano playing accompanied the soft and romantic ballads while when it came to play rhythmic songs or tunes he grabbed his guitar and together with Ed created brilliant grooves. I spoke to Ed after the gig and we were talking about the Flook gigs I was able to attend. Luckily I have seen them twice, as there won’t be another one since they’ve split up.

Cara Dillon Ed Boyd

The guys only played a few sets, but these were a feast for the ears. Ed is certainly one of the best guitar players of Irish Folk music and James’ pipes and whistles playing are pure beauty. But certainly the evening was dominated by Cara’s exceptional singing and the fine accompaniment by these three great musicians. The set-list included traditional songs about the flaws and virtues of the Irish men like “Johnny, lovely Johnny” or “P stands for Paddy”, beautiful cover versions like Tommy Sands’ “There were Roses” as well as some self-crafted songs.

The title track of her latest album “The Hill of Thieves” is dedicated to a small town in County Derry, Northern Ireland. Cara now lives in Somerset, England, and is still longing for the green lands of her place of birth. For me this song was the highlight of the evening, combining Cara’s inspired singing with terrific guitar and pipes playing. It was also the last song of the regular programme and though Cara came back for an encore with Sam Lakeman I really missed another one of these intoxicating rhythms. Finally Cara finished the evening with a striking Irish a Capella song, as far as I remember it was “Fil, Fil a run ó”.

I never saw an audience thus dedicated to the stage performance in the Kammgarn. With her wonderful singing and her charming kind Cara took the audience by storm, well, rather a soft and tender breeze, caressing your ears. I also bought her great new album.

Photo Credits: (1)-(3) Cara Dillon Band (by Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup).

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