IN THIS seasonal instalment of Brighton Dome’s Spectrum showcase, the glut of unplugged folk-infused talent on show could have warmed the heart of the stoniest festive miser.

This unique one-off event unravelled within the meandering halls of the Brighton Museum (and thankfully maps were handed out to those of us less gifted with directions) with pockets of the audience being afforded two performances from each artist at alternating times throughout the venue.

First on the roster was M Butterfly whose playful crowd interaction juxtaposed his gentle songwriting which was soaked in heartbreak and longing. In the neighbouring room Hui Hue performed to an intimate gathering who were visibly affected by her sweet and earnest brand of melancholic folk.

Next up en route was Sharon Lewis who perked up the increasingly weary crowd with a powerful rendition of the Dostoevsky inspired The Idiot, before aptly bringing Yuletide to fruition with an impromptu sing-along of Tidings of Comfort and Joy.

Each artist wholly contributed the to the magic of proceedings, but the night arguably belonged to multi-instrumentalist Emma Gatrill. In amongst the peculiar backdrop of taxidermied wildlife, there were echoes of Bjork in her delivery which borderlined on the hymnal.

Having previously shared the Glastonbury stage with peer Laura Marling, she has pedigree captivating listeners with her precise yet languid harpistry and hypnotic voice.

Accompanied by a solitary guitarist, Gatrill flowed through the hauntingly fragile Wild Waters and the title track from her recent album Cocoon before being joined by Sharon Lewis to perform delicate album-opener Skin, triggering rapturous applause and several tongue-in-cheek boo’s as her set was brought to an end.

It was a shame that due to the tight schedule each engrossed audience were hurried off to the following performances as it swiftly yanked spectators back to reality.

Although having said that, if that wasn’t the case then I’m fairly certain we’d all still be spellbound by the time the next Spectrum showcase comes around.

Thomas Curtis-Horsfall