Profile: Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes was born in 1961 in Maghera, Co. Clare, into a musical family; his grandmother played concertina, his uncle Paddy Canny was national fiddle champion and his father is now celebrating a half century as fiddler and leader of the Tulla Ceili Band, probably the best known of Irish ceili bands and major stars of the dance band scene of the 50s and 60s. It was no surprise that the young Martin, who got his first half-sized fiddle at the age of 7 would follow in the family footsteps, going along to Tulla Ceili band gigs and later joining in. He played with the TCB for some 7 years and was also active in competition, winning a half-dozen all-Ireland fiddle championships (2 of them in the senior competition) and a whole slew of other awards. He learned his music from his neighbours and relations, rather than records and big-name groups, picking up the slow, lyrical Clare style.

After college and a spell setting up his own business, he moved to Chicago and took up the fiddle again after a dry spell. He spent a number of years playing on the local circuit as well as playing with the short-lived rock band, Midnight Court. His success in Chicago made him one of the best known fiddlers in America and lead to his first US album, on the Green Linnet label. He is now based in Seattle, tours extensively and continues the oral tradition by teaching, both in the US and in the Willie Clancy summer school, at home in Clare.


"The Lonesome Touch" is the most recent album from Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill. Here's an except (taken with permission) from Martin's liner notes:
The Lonesome Touch is a phrase I have heard in my native County Clare all my life. It is used to describe a person's music. It is the intangible aspect of music that is both elusive and essential. The word lonesome expresses a sadness, a blue note, a sour note. Even though the music bares the trace of struggle and of pain, it is also the means of uplift, transcendence to joy and celebration.

The lonesome touch is something that is difficult to achieve. One is forced to put the requirements of the music before all personal considerations, to play honestly from the heart with no motive other than the selfless expression of joy and beauty for their own sake.



1997   The Lonesome Touch                       GL1181
1995   Under the Moon                           GL1155
1993   Martin Hayes                             GL1127
1990   The Shores of Lough Graney	            Ice Nine cassette
       (Martin and P.J. Hayes)

also featured in:
1991   The Boston College Fiddle Festival:
       My Love is in America                    GL1110
1991   The Humours of Clare                     ClareFM
1979   An Fhidil,Sraith I                       Gael Linn CEF 068
       (with Seamus Glackin, Maurice Lennon
        & Sean Montgomery)
1977   Slogadh Naisiunta Champions              Gael Linn (out of press?)

All of Martin's major works can be ordered online from CD Universe, with information including track listings and downloadable audio samples.

Copyright (c) 1995-1998 Ceolas.

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