Martin Hayes

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MARTIN HAYES's unique sound, his mastery of the fiddle, his acknowledgement of the past and his ability to place the tradition within a wider contemporary context, combine to create a unique and insightful interpretation of Irish music. He has drawn inspiration from many musical genres, but remains grounded in the music he grew up with in East County Clare.

Martin Hayes is regarded as one of the most extraordinary talents to emerge in the world of Irish traditional music. His unique sound, his mastery of his chosen instrument – the violin – his acknowledgement of the past and his shaping of the future of the music, combine to create an astonishing and formidable artistic intelligence. He is the recipient of major national and international awards: most recently the prestigious Gradam Ceoil, Musician of the Year 2008 from the Irish language television station TG 4; previously Man of the Year from the American Irish Historical Society; Folk Instrumentalist of the Year from BBC Radio; a National Entertainment Award (the Irish ‘Grammy’); six All-Ireland fiddle championships – before the age of nineteen – and cited by the Irish Sunday Tribune as one of the hundred most influential Irish men and women in the fields of entertainment, politics and sports in the year 2000, as well as one of the most important musicians to come out of Ireland in the last fifty years. He has recorded two acclaimed solo albums, “Martin Hayes” (1993) and “Under the Moon” (1995) on the Green Linnet label. Martin Hayes is the Artistic Director of the Masters of Tradition Festival held in August each year at Bantry House in Bantry, West Cork, where Ireland’s most distinguished traditional musicians are invited to play in an exquisite chamber music setting. In January 2009, Martin Hayes will lead a group of Masters of Tradition musicians to the Sydney International Festival where they will perform at the Sydney Opera House for two nights.
A native of County Clare, to which he returns for extended periods several times a year, Martin Hayes has been based in the United States, now living in Connecticut, for the past twenty-three years. He has drawn musical inspiration from sources as diverse as the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, the Spanish viola da gamba master, Jordi Savall, and the jazz genius, John Coltrane, but remains grounded in the music he grew up with in his own locality, Maghera, Feakle, East County Clare where the music which he learned from his late father, P. Joe Hayes, the legendary leader of the long-lived Tulla Ceili Band, profoundly influenced his musical accent and ideas forever after. In his younger days he played in an experimental electric band in Chicago; recently he has composed scores for film, theatre, and modern dance, and has collaborated with like-minded musicians from other genres, such as jazz guitarist, Bill Frisell and eclectic violinist Darol Anger. He views these explorations as a means of shedding light on his ongoing artistic journey, as well as a challenge to any rigidity of thought. The fundamental artistic quest is to go deeper and deeper within traditional Irish music and himself.

DENNIS CAHILL is a master guitarist, a native of Chicago born to parents from the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. He studied at the city’s prestigious Music College before becoming an active member of the local music scene. Cahill’s spare, essential accompaniment to Martin Hayes’ fiddle is acknowledged as a major breakthrough for guitar in the Irish tradition. In addition to his work with  Martin, Dennis has performed with such renowned fiddlers as Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers and Kevin  Burke, as well as many Irish musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. He is a sought after producer for musical artists whom he records in his own Chicago studio and is also an accomplished photographer.  Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill met in Chicago in the 1980s. They formed the jazz/rock/fusion band, Midnight Court, which allowed them to experiment with a variety of new music styles. When Martin reclaimed his traditional roots, reinvigorated, and  after recording two solo albums, he began a new musical relationship with Cahill, beginning with  the lyrical music of East Clare. They played long, sometimes thirty-minute, multi-tune sets in their  concerts, starting from the simplest of melodies, building in intensity, but never abandoning musicality and ideas. 

 ‘In years to come, we’ll surely talk of having seen this man in the way others talk of Miles Davis or Jimi Hendrix’ (The Irish Times,  February 2015)

 “Sparsely accompanied fiddle music has rarely sounded so complete and so essential.” (Q Magazine)





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Label | Green Linnet

Management | Ellen Byrne, info.martinhayes[a]

Discography | Martin Hayes on 



Martin Hayes' Imaging Ireland Performance was "Mesmerizing"May 2, 2016, Financial Times

“Martin Hayes played mesmerizing fiddle tunes with Dennis Cahill on guitar: as airs built to jigs to reels he raised the energy steadily, slowing deliberately to disengage the audience’s clapping along, then stamping in abandon at the set’s end.”

Past St. Patrick's Day: The Gloaming Rearranges Irish Tradition  -March 23, 2016

The Gloaming: The Gloaming 2 album review - 'They justify trad supergroup tag'  - February 25, 2016

The Guardian: The Gloaming: 2 review – exquisite, powerful performances   - February 25, 2016

Irish Times: Album of the Week - The Gloaming 2: a richly textured thing of beauty  - February 25, 2016

Irish Mirror: Folked up: Irish trad supergroup return with brilliant second album  - February 18, 2016

Folk Radio UK: The Gloaming: 2 – Featured Album Review  - February 18, 2016

Album Review: The Gloaming - The Gloaming 2  - February 17, 2016


The Guardian: The most unmissable culture of 2016   - January 4, 2016"

The Gloaming, National Concert Hall, Dublin review: 'They deserve to be celebrated and cherished'   - January 3, 2016

Irish Times: Get your 2016 on: Everything you need to know   - January 2, 2016

Music and poetry event to celebrate WB Yeats 2015  - August 16, 2015
This much I know: Martin Hayes, musician - Irish Examiner, August 15, 2015
The Clare Herald: "Clare musician Martin Hayes, multi-award winning Limerick author Kevin Barry, poet Peter Fallon and actor Pat Kinevane are amongst the confirmed participants of this year’s Éigse Michael Hartnett in Newcastle West, County Limerick, from April 16-18th."
Irish Times: "The Gloaming last night won the Meteor Choice Music Prize for best Irish album of 2014 with their eponymous record The Gloaming."

2014 Meteor Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year   - March 5, 2015
The Gloaming have on the Meteor Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year 2014 for their self-entitled album.

The Gloaming Review: Exhilarating Folk from a Classy, Original Group   - March 4, 2015
The Guardian reviews sold-out show at Barbican, London. "The Irish-American five-piece combine soulful ballads and fiddle work in an intense, emotional performance of largely new material."

2014 Meteor Choice Music Price Nomination   - January 7, 2015
The Gloaming are nominated for best Irish album of the year.

Irish Times: On the Record's 50 Best Albums of 2014   - December 22, 2014
The Gloaming are listed at #1 and other projects from Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh also make the list.

Irish Times: The Ticket Awards - The Gloaming wins Best Band, Best Traditional Album   - December 19, 2014
The Gloaming wins Best Band, Best Traditional Album, and is runner up in the Best Album and Best Irish Act categories.

The Guardian: Best Albums of 2014  - December 17, 2014
Writers Michael Hann and Robyn Denselow place The Gloaming on their top 10 albums of 2014.

Best Selling Album of 2014 at Tower Records Dublin - December 16, 2014

NPR's Best Global Music Of 2014 - December 13th, 2014
"Bands are too often hyped as supergroups, but The Gloaming is the real deal — and one that breaks free of the traditional boundaries of their genre…... In short, this is the rare album that might well transform the syntax of a whole style.”  —Anastasia Tsioulcas

NPR Top 50 Albums of 2014 - December 8th, 2014
"There has never been an album quite like this, spare and textured, representing past and future as well as transcending all you may think you know about Irish music." —Bob Boilen

The Gloaming: Continuing Adventures of a Trad Fusion Supergroup - Aug 11th, 2014
From Mother Jones Magazine Contact: The Gloaming’s Unlikely Convergence: Martin Hayes and Thomas Bartlett on their multigenerational Irish-music powerhouse. By Jacob Blickenstaff The Gloaming is a collaboration of some of the most respected names in traditional Irish music.

From Mother Jones Magazine Contact: The Gloaming’s Unlikely Convergence: Martin Hayes and Thomas Bartlett on their multigenerational Irish-music powerhouse. By Jacob Blickenstaff The Gloaming is a collaboration of some of the most respected names in traditional Irish music.
From Irish Times The five virtuosos of The Gloaming can afford to be choosy about how, and where, they play their transcendental blend of trad, jazz, rock and classical music.
From The Guardian How the Gloaming assembled their craic squad By: Alfred hickling Ceiliuradh is the Gaelic word for celebration; and a warm April evening finds a ceiliuradh to end all ceiliuradhs at the Royal Albert Hall. 

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