MUSIC REVIEW: Cara Dillon, South Holland Centre, Spalding

Cara Dillon was in concert at South Holland Centre, Spalding, on Saturday.
Cara Dillon was in concert at South Holland Centre, Spalding, on Saturday.

Sounds of Hibernia to soothe a Saturday night audience

South Holland Centre would be mad not to bring Northern Ireland folk songstress Cara Dillon and her engaging band back to Spalding at the earliest opportunity.

With husband and kindred spirit Sam Lakeman on piano and acoustic guitar, fellow guitarist Ed Boyd, all-Ireland senior fiddle champion Niall Murphy and Luke Daniels on button accordian, Saturday’s show was one of the most impressive and distinctive shows to grace Spalding’s community arts venue in recent years.

The stage was set by support act, Wisbech-based guitarist Tommy Loose who had his audience hanging on every one of his instrument’s skins with numbers such as The Avett Brother’s Murder in the City and OutKast’s 2003 worldwide smash hit Hey Ja.

Then Cara Dillon herself made a mockery of her frail and fragile figure in stage with a humble, yet self-assured journey through a set list from her own River Run and fellow Irishman Christy Moore’s Black is the colour, through to The Maid of Culmore and Shotgun Down The Avalanche by American Shawn Colvin.

Speaking to the Guardian ahead of her concert, Cara said: “Everything Sam and I do together has an identity unique to us and hopefully people who listen can find themes and soundscapes that sound familiar across our whole back catalogue of music.

“We pour everything we have into our albums and when we look back over them, we have the same feelings most artists have - pride and satisfaction.

“But we also wince at elements we would change if we had the chance and we’re always surprised by the songs the fans pick us up on.

“We’re always getting messages and meeting fans who discovered our music through more accessible routes.

“But what is surprising is how many of them fall in love with my music after their first encounter.

“It’s amazing to hear a fan in South America who listens to me singing on a club hit, only to then discover traditional Irish folk music and fall in love with it as well.

“Sam and I were a musical partnership, first and foremost, before we became an item and it’s this love of the same music and shared tastes that has defined our sound.

“We both feel we’re stronger together than apart.”

Cara Dillon at South Holland Centre, Spalding, was much, much more than a “great craic”.

Review by Winston Brown