Described by the BBC as “an instant Christmas classic”, Upon a Winter’s Night is Cara Dillon’s Christmas show touring for the fourth year. Performing in our Great Hall during the festive season, Cara will be joined by her wonderful band who weave celtic and folksy rhythms alongside reverent and atmospheric carols. We caught up with her to talk more about the show and influences behind her music.

For anyone that’s not see you before, what can we expect from the show?

This will be the fourth year I’ve toured Upon A Winter’s Night and each year it seem to get more meaningful and rewarding. The show is a very genuine and reverent reflection and celebration of Christmas with a mix of traditional Carols, Celtic hymns and other Christmas songs that we hope create a sense of wonder and gravitas (which seems to be increasingly lacking in recent times). I’m joined onstage by four other musicians which includes my husband, Sam Lakeman on Piano and Guitar, Luke Daniels on Button Accordion, Ed Boyd on Guitar and Toby Shaer on Fiddle and Whistles. They are amazing at painting very evocative soundscapes that give me such a great platform to sing these stunning songs. The feedback we have received from audiences over the years has been truly inspiring and i’m thrilled to say the show has become a tradition for many who return to watch it year after year.

Why do you love performing music?

It’s the thrill of being immersed in the moment and letting go. There’s nothing quite like the experience of being so exposed and fragile on stage with all these ears and eyes fixed on your performance. It can be terrifying and not for everybody… but I absolutely love it.

Who are your musical influences?

Obviously i’ve been influenced by the Irish traditional music I was exposed to throughout my youth…and also the 80’s pop music my older sisters would play (which I absolutely loved). But i’ve also been inspired by artists like Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Coldplay, U2, Johnny Cash, Nick Drake, Paul Simon, Talk Talk and so many others that I couldn’t list here.

What’s your favourite song to perform?

My favourite song changes like the seasons. There are many reasons I find myself drawn to one song over another. At the moment it would be “The Leaving Song” which is from my last album “Wanderer”. It’s a song about a mother pleading for her son to not leave home to find a better life elsewhere.

If you could pick one act, living or dead, to join you on stage for a song, who would it be (and what would you perform together)?

Wow. that’s a really hard question. Off the top of my head I would probably pick Fleetwood Mac and sing “Landslide”.

Cara Dillon: Upon a Winter’s Night performs in our Great Hall on Fri 13 December, 8pm – book tickets

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