05/11/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

An Early St. Patrick's Day Toast, With Cara Dillon

I find myself in the timely position of reporting on a fine Celtic artist and band just prior to St Patrick's day. Cara Dillon was in town for GlobalFEST, and treated the crowd to some truly wonderful singing and playing. My own affection for Celtic music probably stems from my early love of Bluegrass and, later, of country music. The Scots-Irish contribution to these idioms is inextricable and has influenced the way we hear our own popular music so much that we tend to easily slide right into it. It certainly felt that way to me, walking through GlobalFEST, with its three stages and four acts each, from all corners of the earth. No matter how good they all were, when I landed on Cara's set, I felt like I was home. I've chosen to give you the full rendition of "The Hill of Thieves," a hauntingly lovely original by Dillon and Lakeman, (also the name of their most recent CD) and bracketed it with shorter segments of two traditional tunes. I wish that Cara had not worn white, for my camera's sake, but it did give her a rather angelic look!

The band, comprised of Sam Lakeman on keyboards and guitar, Ed Boyd on guitar, Brian Finnegan on various whistles, and Cillian Vellely on pipes burned through jigs, ballads and reels. Dillon's voice can sound ethereal at times, but it is in fact a strong and precise instrument, and the choice of repertoire kept the audience by turns enthralled and bouncing.