Cara Dillon releases new album Wanderer

Cara Dillon
Cara Dillon

Cara Dillon, one of the most celebrated singers in Irish folk music has announced the release of her brand new album Wanderer. For this, her seventh album, the award-winning singer once again collaborates with longtime musical partner, producer and husband Sam Lakeman to offer a collection of songs featuring intimate performances that capture some of her most moving vocal performances to date.

Building upon a career based on folk songs rooted in time and place, Wanderer sees Cara delve deeper into the tradition. The underlying theme being the movement of people, of emigration and the pursuit of love. It’s a collection that speaks to Cara’s fascination with songs of departure and the powerful desire to belong.

Speaking about the new album, Cara says: “Having lived outside of Ireland for most of my adult life, I continue to identify with these songs of departure and longing for home on a very personal level. Several of the songs refer to places close to where I grew up, making them particularly emotional to sing. It feels like a gift to be able to share these stories as they continue to move and inspire a new generation of people.”

Each of the album’s ten tracks feature beautifully sparse piano and acoustic guitar arrangements by Sam Lakeman, who also produces. His experience and expertise were both key in making this album stand apart from Cara’s previous. It’s warm and intimate, the mood is stripped back and relaxed, the songs are beautiful and thoroughly self-assured. Guest performances by Kris Drever, John Smith, Justin Adams, Niall Murphy and Ben Nicholls provide expressive backing, helping to make this a sincere, understated work of art.

Throughout an enviable career which has seen her explore opportunities to tread many different paths – from releasing folk crossover albums on indie label Rough Trade, working on Disney soundtracks and collaborations with leading UK dance DJ/producers, Cara has continuously chosen to firmly plant herself within the landscape of her cultural heritage. With a more mature and reflective tone, Wanderer will no doubt transcend genres just as effortlessly as her highly successful albums Hill Of Thieves (2009) and A Thousand Hearts (2014).

In 2016, Cara released her first Christmas album, Upon A Winter’s Night, which topped the Indie Breakers chart twice and embarked on a sell-out UK Christmas tour, which she will repeat again in November/December 2017 with additional dates.

Concerts in the US, Germany and her fifth tour of China are all in the pipeline and Cara will be performing at prestigious UK venues in early 2018 in support of the release of Wanderer.

The album features striking renditions of much visited folk songs Blackwater Side, The Banks Of The Bann and Sailor Boy with the latter featuring a fine duet with BBC Folk Singer Of The Year, Kris Drever. The Tern And The Swallow, The Banks Of The Foyle and The Faughan Side are less familiar to non Ulster natives and further showcase Cara’s sublime vocals and effortless ornamentation. The album closes with Cara and Sam’s dreamy version of Dubhdara, written by Shaun Davey for his 1985 album Granuaile.

Two originals compliment the traditional material beautifully, with Cara describing The Leaving Song as follows: “I was inspired to write this after hearing my mother’s stories about ‘living wakes’ in her home on a mountainside in pre-war, rural Co Derry. They were gatherings, to celebrate a loved one on the eve of their emigration, her recollections struck a very powerful chord with me. As a mother of three myself, the words flowed freely imagining my own emotional plea, from a mother to a son.” Continuing the narrative is a song regarding the refugees and migrants fleeing conflict and poverty across the Mediterranean - they are the Lakeside Swans.

Wanderer by Cara Dillon is released on Charcoal Records.