REVIEW: Cara Dillon - Ryan Young and Jenn Butterworth at FolkWeek, Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 14:00 18 August 2018

Ham Concerts, Cara Dillon

Ham Concerts, Cara Dillon


Ryan Young, an exceptionally gifted - and indeed young - fiddle player from Scotland, opened Wednesday evening’s (August 8)concert with a dazzling set of tunes, accompanied by the sensitive and intuitive guitar of Jenn Butterworth.

Ham Concerts, Cara DillonHam Concerts, Cara Dillon

Ryan is a graduate of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, was a Young Folk Award nominee this year and winner of several Scottish traditional music awards. Jenn appeared in Sidmouth last year with Laura-Beth Salter and was a part of the Songs of Separation project. Ryan’s playing can be graceful and lyrical as well as swift and energetic, and he and Jenn have obviously developed a close musical rapport.

Two more impressive young musicians who are definitely ones to watch.

The programming at Sidmouth is very effective at pairing up-and-coming young musicians with established and much-loved performers such as Carthy and Kirkpatrick and, this evening, multi-award winning Northern Irish singer Cara Dillon.

Her pure voice is distinctive and at times heart-wrenching - for me, she is most effective when she sings most simply and gently, accompanied only by Sam Lakeman on keyboard or guitar, such as in the first and last songs of her set, The Tern and The Swallow and Shaun Davey’s Dubhdara.

Sam and the rest of her band are brilliant musicians – especially the fiddle-player – but at times their accompaniment was too loud, especially when Sam played guitar in typical driving Lakeman mode, so that Cara’s voice had to become louder to match, and, occasionally, the endings of her songs were over-embellished. The band played a great set of traditional tunes too.

Cara included several numbers from her recent Wanderer album – songs of exile and emigration such as her own moving The Leaving Song, in which a mother says farewell to her son who is leaving for America, and the beautiful traditional The Faughan Side. The audience were encouraged to join in with the chorus of There Were Roses, a lament for two young men on either side of the religious divide in Northern Ireland during the Troubles: this created a powerful and moving sound in the marquee which, Cara hoped, would be a force for good in difficult times. Another great evening in the Ham.Nicola King

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