Martin Hayes announces Dublin show & album dedicated to Dennis Cahill & Cahill’s mother Peggy
The Irish fiddler Martin Hayes has announced a new album for his Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble.
Peggy’s Dream will be released on Friday March 24th on Faction Records ahead of a sold out National Concert Hall show on Sunday March 26th (which is being filmed for broadcast).
Another Dublin gig later in the year, is announced for Vicar Street on Friday October 20th, with tickets in due course. Tickets from €25 plus fees on sale February 22nd at 10am.
‘Peggy’s Dream is dedicated to his musical partner Dennis Cahill who died last June aged 68, and Dennis’ mother Peggy. It’s now on pre-order.
The band that Hayes has brought together comes from different musical backgrounds (jazz, classical, experimental) with The Common Ground of the title being shared connections to Irish music. The players include Cormac McCarthy (piano, Kate Ellis (cello, Artistic Director of Crash Ensemble), Kyle Sanna (guitar, a collaborator with Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile) and Brian Donnellan (bouzouki / harmonium / concertina, and, like Hayes, an alumnus of The Tulla Ceìiliì Band).
“I want this to be the most fun I can have while I’m on stage,” said Hayes of the Ensemble. “I’ve usually tended to gather a group of people together and just see what begins to emerge. The larger picture in terms of mood, feeling, harmonies and overall arrangement is mostly driven by my aspirations for the tunes. I make a rough arrangement sketch that we then collectively fill out. One of my goals is also to create space and opportunity for all the different musical personalities, styles and genres to be freely expressed within this band. I feel that the ensemble’s potential is best realised when the totality of each musicians capacity and musical personality can be fully utilised and freely expressed.”
About Martin Hayes
Martin Hayes was always passionate about music but it was not a career path he intended to take. “I always loved it but I didn’t want the precarious life that often comes with being a professional musician. I was good at it and identified with it more than anything else in my life. In retrospect I was very lucky that a career emerged even if I hadn’t planned it.”
By his late teens, Hayes had been named the All-Ireland Fiddle Champion seven times and by his early twenties had relocated to Chicago. The Windy City’s Irish music scene was strong, yet Hayes discovered something new about himself. “I liked reaching outside of the world of traditional music and it was there that my first adventurous collaboration and lifetime friendship with Dennis Cahill began in a band called Midnight Court.”
He met countless new musicians, discovered new bands and engaged in some unlikely recording sessions. “Some of them were very loud and rock ‘n’ roll, but I’d get through it somehow and I always learned from the experience. Even if the lesson was, don’t do that again,” he chuckles. “It’s an important idea to me to be open-minded and not shut the door on things that I’m not familiar with or do not fully understand.”
His credits soon racked up. Solo projects, albums with Dennis Cahill, The Gloaming, the Martin Hayes Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Triuìr and countless other collaborations. “These projects are the indispensable foundations of my current thoughts about how I like to arrange and perform traditional Irish music.”
The Common Ground Ensemble is the latest stage in Martin Hayes’ life-long musical journey – one that will continue to evolve for years to come. “You have to accept that perfection may elude you forever,” he signs off. “But that’s ok because music isn’t about perfection. For me it’s more about heart, feeling, trust, freedom, communication and true aliveness in the moment.
Martin has been recognised as Musician of the Year (Gradam Ceoil) from TG4, Person of the Year by the American Irish Historical Society in New York City and is recipient of the annual Spirit of Ireland award from the Irish Arts Center NY. He was named musician of the year at the inaugural BBC Folk Awards and also instrumentalist of the year at the inaugural RTE Folk Awards. He and Dennis performed for President Obama and dignitaries both at the White House and the US Capitol Building in March, 2011. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from National University of Ireland Galway.