Cara Dillon with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Glasgow City Halls

Added on Friday 25 Jan 2013

Photo: cara dillon and royal scottish orchestra.

Celtic Connections January 2013 ?Review by Pauline Keightley

Cara Dillon is sweet, lovely and petite. She comes from Dungiven in Northern Ireland and is married to the musician Sam Lakeman, with whom she has performed for a number of years. She also sings traditional Irish songs in a pure, natural voice that makes her singing feel effortless.

I first heard Cara on a radio interview and I was impressed with her voice. I checked her songs on YouTube and found her singing with the Ulster Orchestra. For Celtic Connections 2013 Dillon recreated this event with the BBC Scottish Symphony orchestra.

The City Halls performance started with Cara and her band (Sam Lakeman on guitar, Zoe Conway on fiddle and Michael McGoldrick on whistle and pipes). They performed a few songs including Johnny Lovely Johnny before the orchestra joined her on stage. They created a sound rich as a film score, with the depth, resonance, and fullness that only a full orchestra can produce.

On the memorable The Verdant Braes of Skreen the orchestra provided swelling strings and floating woodwind. Your Hearts No Longer Mine is a song of lost love and heartbreak and Cara's voice was like a subtle flute. Black Is the Colour was both clear and poignant. The orchestra really kicked in when the brass section took flight with additional drama on the song She Moved Through the Fair.

At the start of the second half Dillon's voice was serene, sincere and full of sadness for the Gaelic song Fil Fil O Run. She sang Maid of Culmore in a soft voice that both whispered and soared. On High Tide, her own composition, Dillon sang of the homesickness of emigration from Ireland which she explained is sadly happening again. Cara finished her concert with Lakeman on piano, performing the traditional song The Parting Glass.

She was expertly backed by her husband Sam Lakeman on both guitar and piano. They are an impressive musical collaboration, who have worked togther for a number of years. Lakeman's playing was perfectly in sync with Dillon's voice.

Here are some of the songs Dillon sang:


  • Johnny Lovely Johnny
  • Hills of Derry
  • Verdant Braes of Skreen
  • Black Is the Colour
  • Maid of Culmore
  • High Tide
  • The Snows They Melt the Soonest
  • Fil Fil O Run
  • It Will Not be Long Love

Tunes from the band

  • Streets of Derry
  • Hill of Thieves,
  • P Stands for Paddy
  • I Wish You Well
  • Parting Glass.

PKImage Musicfootnotes

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