DEFINING moments in life can happen immediately or can creep up over you without you noticing the change.

A definition of a defining moment is: “A point in your life when you’re urged to make a pivotal decision, or when you experience something that fundamentally changes you. Not only do these moments define us, but they have a transformative effect on our perceptions and behaviours.”

One person who has seen her way of thinking change or certainly the way in which she looks at life change in two defining instances has been renowned Irish folk singer and now Somerset resident Cara Dillon.

Music as far as the young Cara knew was something she first heard when she was in her cradle.

She grew up in a house which was full of music, wit people calling around and singing or music playing.

Indeed she started playing a tin whistle at a very early age but it was not until she became a teenager did she realise the possibility of music being a career.

But even them she was caught up in the ‘spirit of it all’ and thought what she had experienced in a small village in County Derry was what everyone else knew so she thought what she was doing with music was not particularly extraordinary.

Somerset County Gazette:

When she first started out on her musical journey as a teenager she was with a group called Oige and what she was doing was ‘just for her’.

She said: “I was in a band with friends and travelling to England and Germany.

“I loved being in a band, loved being on stage and what I was doing was second nature to me.

“Even then I did not see what I was doing as a job. Being a musician gives me a sense of freedom as I am doing something I am passionate about.

“I realised the importance of music more so when I became a mother. I could see all these people had come out to see me and they wanted something back from what I was doing.

“This came across when after the show I heard how they had listened to one of my CD’s as a way of getting them through chemotherapy treatment or how one song would help them get through as their grieve for someone they loved.

“I could see how special it was to be able to help.”

The other ‘defining moment/change’ for Cara has come surrounding Christmas.

Explaining she said: “I have always loved traditional Christmas songs which mean much more than Christmas jingles.

“The story of Christmas is not Mariah Carey wearing a sparkly dress, the magic is letting kids grow up with proper Christmas songs and letting them experience the magical side of Christmas.”

Somerset County Gazette:

And to give people a chance to enjoy a different Christmas Cara launched her Upon a Winter’s Night Christmas Tour 2018 which this year comes to the Cheese & Grain in Frome on Sunday, December 16.

The overwhelming success of previous tours has cemented this magical and memorable festive experience as a firm tradition.

Cara and her band will once again capture the mystery of Christmas with a collection of songs ancient and modern providing a welcome reminder that the festive season is about more than commercialism.

There is another side to Christmas - far away from Bing crooning, Noddy screaming and a world apart from Jingle Bells and Santa Baby - it’s a place where the story of Jesus’ birth is retold with genuine wonder and celebrated with the dignity, passion and beauty it deserves. Christmas is one of Cara’s passions as her live show and album prove.

Cara will be joined by her wonderful band who weave Celtic and folksy rhythms alongside reverent and atmospheric carols while Cara holds the darkness at bay with the renowned purity of her voice. Husband Sam Lakeman (piano, guitar) will be joined by Toby Shaer on fiddle and whistles, Ed Boyd on guitar and Luke Daniels on accordion.

One of Cara’s top three films of all time in The Shawshank Redemption.

She loves it as there are so many wonderful scenes, so many wonderful lines.

Cara said: “I like the scene when Brooks (a long term inmate of Shawshank Prison) is released.

“It is that moment he realises he cannot cope with the modern world, with modern life, he has become institutionalised.

“He carves the words Brooks was here is a beam.” The character carves he words to show he was here and then takes his own life.

I asked Cara is she had ever thought of writing a song about Brooks and she said: “You now that is a great idea.” Watch and wait and see if that happens but first catch her Christmas show on December 16.