Fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill will perform Irish traditional music on Friday, April 25, at 4:30 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street. The performance is the final event in the 2013-14 series presented by Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies. The concert is free and open to the public.
“This remarkable duo has honed a ravishing repertoire by distilling the melodic essence of traditional tunes…bringing chamber music’s intensity and dynamic control to folk music.”
Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill are two of the world’s leading artists in traditional Irish music. Their adventurous, soulful interpretations of traditional tunes are recognized the world over for their exquisite musicality and irresistible rhythm. The New York Times calls them “a Celtic complement to Steve Reich’s Quartets and Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain.” Their latest CD, Welcome Here Again, captures the chemistry of their duo playing.
Fiddler Martin Hayes, from East County Clare, is considered one of Ireland’s most innovative and influential musicians. He was raised in a famous musical family in rural County Clare, and had won six All-Ireland fiddle championships by age 19. Dennis Cahill was born and raised in Chicago to parents from County Kerry, Ireland. He is a master guitarist whose spare, essential accompaniment to Hayes’ fiddle is acknowledged as a major breakthrough for guitar in the Irish tradition. The duo has toured throughout the world for almost twenty years including multiple tours to Australia, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Scandinavia, Canada, the U.K. and Ireland as well as stops in Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China, Poland and Mexico. Hayes and Cahill have recorded three critically acclaimed albums together on Green Linnet Records. They were the featured performers at the March 17, 2011 annual St. Patrick’s Day Congressional Luncheon playing for the President, Vice-President, members of Congress, and the President of Ireland at the Capitol, and that evening at the White House.
In February 2013 the duo performed a “Tiny Desk Concert” for NPR:
Two recent projects have received much attention: Masters of Tradition, an ensemble of seven Irish virtuoisi on tour, based on a festival Martin curates each year in County Cork; and The Gloaming, a new Irish “supergroup” that includes singer Iarla O Lionaird (Afro Celt Sound System) and the New York downtown pianist Doveman (Thomas Bartlett). Their musical explorations have included collaborations with jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, “new grass” duo Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
“Our allegiance is to the spirit of the moment,” says Hayes of their concert appearances. “Our primary wish is that the musical experience be one that lifts our spirits and those of the audience.”
Martin Hayes, from East County Clare, began playing the fiddle at the age of seven and went on to win six All-Ireland fiddle championships before the age of nineteen. He is the recipient of numerous awards including Folk Instrumentalist of the Year from BBC Radio, Man of the Year from the American Irish Historical Society and Musician of the Year from TG4, the Irish language television station. Martin has contributed music, both original and traditional, to modern dance performance, theatre, film and television. He is the artistic director of Masters of Tradition, an annual festival in Bantry, County Cork and functions in the same capacity for the touring production of the festival featuring other Irish music masters, including Dennis Cahill, which toured the U.S. in April 2012 and will tour again in March 2013. Both Martin and Dennis are part of the new Irish band, The Gloaming, which explores the edges of traditional Irish music. Martin also collaborates with the American classical music quartet, Brooklyn Rider. He teaches advanced fiddle classes at festivals and music retreats and in addition to recording two solo albums, and three duet albums with Dennis Cahill, has produced and collaborated on recordings with other distinguished Irish musicians, including his late father, the esteemed fiddler P.J. Hayes.
Dennis Cahill is a master guitarist from Chicago born to Irish-speaking parents from the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. His spare, essential accompaniment to Martin Hayes’ fiddle is acknowledged as a major breakthrough for guitar in the Irish tradition. Besides touring with Martin Hayes for their duet performances, Dennis is a member of the Masters of Tradition ensemble as well as an annual participant at the festival of the same name, and plays with The Gloaming. He is a sought-after record producer where he works with musicians in his home studio in Chicago, as well as a talented photographer (www.denniscahill.com).