Nothing puts the cherry on top of a beautiful day in Thornbury quite like an entertaining evening, and Thornbury Arts Festival have triumphed again, in the form of Cara Dillon and her musical accomplices Sam Lakeman and Niall Murphy.
From the moment the trio walked on stage, their calm demeanor, drew you in and had the audience anticipating their first note. This was a common theme through the performance. You were immersed into the story the band span through beautiful vocals, constant guitar or piano melody and the haunting sounds of the fiddle and brought back from the remote Irish countryside with a humorous quip from Dillon. This cut through the emotion of the their story; and then just as you’re laughing along with her band, you find yourself enveloped into a new tale from the first note sung, featuring a family you know all too well, despite never meeting them.
There were many standout moments during the two hour performance, where the artists encouraged participation, creating beautiful harmonies with the sell out audience. “There were Roses” was a beautiful song about the tension between the all-too well known religious differences of Mainland and Northern Ireland, and again the narrative the trio told submerged you into the harsh reality of a history, often forgotten in our troubling times, and still very much felt in parts of the border today.
The same can be said for “Donald” and “The Living Wake,” both emotive and imagination activating ballads. They play with your heart strings, taking you to a stormy day on the sea, returning home or standing at the back door, watching your son leaving home across dew covered grass. The versatility of each musical number, despite there only being three/four components at a time is astounding and I congratulate this ensemble tremendously for that. A technique that only a practiced and professional group attain over years of trial and error.
Altogether this stand out act, was a pleasure for the eyes and the ears, and I send them well wishes on their current tour this summer.
Thornbury Arts Festival runs through to the 14th of May. For the list of events and tickets available visit: http://thornburyartsfestival.com/box-office/