Celtic Connections 2023: Cara Dillon with Vrï

We had checked out Vrï’s latest album before the festival and had been quite impressed with the three Welsh guys singing in Welsh. They sounded vibrant and self-assured on the album and likewise so on stage as the opening act for Cara Dillon on Sat. 28th.

As far as I have understood, they play traditional tunes only (?) and have selected them perfectly for the albums and also the live set. Nice sequences of different moods and grooves, with a surprisingly big and rich sound emanating from the trio. They also kindly explained the stories in the songs, thanks for that. The folks at the RCH New Auditorium really took a liking to them and I wish Vrï a growing audience and much success in the trad music scene.

Vrï photo by me

I had not seen Cara Dillon live before and she came across as a wonderfully warm, in-the-moment performer who has no need for any posturing. Lovely.

Her set was built around a series of poems she has written and composed into songs; some poems she read on stage so there was an element of a spoken word performance as well. Themes of childhood, memories, Ireland and identity form the basis of these quite personal works whose background she shared with us. Quite fascinating and not what I had expected. Only three or four songs from her back catalogue made it to the evening’s set.

It was a tender, low-key and embracing performance, with Sam Lakeman (of course), Mike McGoldrick and a fine bass player whose name unfortunately escaped me – sorry! – backing her supremely well. I believe these new songs and the stories and recollections they carry will come to us also in recorded form sooner or later, and that release will definitely be one to look for.

Cara Dillon photo by me (apologies for the sorry quality of the pic)

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