03
Mon, Oct

iBAM! Music Awardees Martin Hayes and the Late Dennis Cahill (RIP)

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill

“The remarkable duo has honed a ravishing repertoire by distilling the melodic essence of traditional tunes. The two can play a reel that sets feet stomping, but they’ve distinguished themselves by bringing chamber music’s intensity and dynamic control to folk tunes created for community celebrations.”

                                                                                                                                            THE IRISH TIMES

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. For over two decades, the Irish fiddler and American guitarist have performed at major concert halls and festivals around the globe. The duo also helped found the new Irish supergroup The Gloaming.

The New York Times describes the duo as "simply exquisite. They strip old reels and jigs to their essence, leaving space between the notes for harmonics and whispered blue notes...A Celtic complement to Steve Reich's quartets or Miles Davis's 'Sketches of Spain'."

Fiddler Martin Hayes is considered one of Ireland's most innovative and influential musicians. He was raised in a famous musical family in rural Maghera, Feakle, East County Clare where the music 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. 

By age 19 Martin had won six All-Ireland fiddle championships. He is the recipient of numerous awards including Folk Instrumentalist of the Year (BBC), Person of the Year (American Irish Historical Society), Spirit Of Ireland award from the Irish Arts Center of NY, and Ireland's prestigious Musician of the Year (Gradam Ceoil TG4). Hayes has drawn inspiration from sources as diverse as Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and jazz genius Myles Davis and early Music icon Jordi Savall but remains grounded in the music he grew up with in East Clare.


Dennis Cahill was a master guitarist from Chicago born to Irish-speaking parents from the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. His spare, essential accompaniment to Hayes’ fiddle is acknowledged as a major breakthrough for guitar in the Irish tradition. Dennis studied at Chicago's prestigious Music College before becoming an active member of the local music scene. He has performed with such renowned fiddlers as Kevin Burke, Liz Carroll, and Eileen Ivers, as well as many Irish musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Dennis was also a sought-after producer for musical artists whom he recorded in his own Chicago studio, as well as an accomplished photographer.

Dennis and Martin were picked for the award before Dennis’ untimely passed on June 20, 2022, never recovering from a fall he took.

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