mon 06/07/2020

Cara Dillon, Union Chapel | reviews, news & interviews

Cara Dillon, Union Chapel

Cara Dillon, Union Chapel

Elfin Irish chanteuse enchants

Cara Dillon: evocative and impishDavid Laws

With her impish looks and translucent, near-perfect voice Cara Dillon does well to avoid the “coffee table” epithet.  As a "product" she looks prime for mass marketing into the suburban dinner party circuit. But as an artist she is much better than that.

There’s an inherent danger with commercial Irish folk of veering into blandness, or a kind of insipid new ageism

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I've followed Cara Dillon's career since she came to our local folk club as a member of Oige. It was clear even then that she had an amazing talent and was destined for great things. I also saw her in The Equation which included all the Lakemans. I was at the Union Chapel on Saturday night and would go along with everything in Russ Coffey's review as regards Cara's performance and the very obviously special partnership she has with Sam Lakeman. I'd just add a word about her band who were also stunning in their supporting role and in their own right: Ed Boyd on guitar, Brian Finnegan on flute and whistles and James O'Grady on fiddle, whistles and uillean pipes. I've seen Cara Dillon on many occasions - all have been special.

For me the Union Chapel concert was completely captivating and I can't think of a concert I've enjoyed more. I really wanted to hear a number of the older songs, but the 'Hill Of Thieves' material is just so powerful that I hardly missed the older stuff. It was my first time at Union Chapel, and the voice in that arena was absolutely spine-chilling, especially the two unaccompanied songs and vocal/piano songs like 'Garden Valley', 'False False' and 'Parting Glass'. Keyboards and all the other musicianship were superb also. I'd only seen Cara once before live, at Blackheath a couple of years back, but in this more intimate setting her warmth and elegance really filled the venue. I'm happy for Cara to be, so to speak, a well-kept folk-circuit 'secret', but I am convinced she can be as 'big' a star as she wants to be : the voice, image and haunting tunes are that good.

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