Martin Hayes ranks among the most eloquent fiddlers ever to emerge from Ireland. The whole gamut of human emotions can be found in his playing; from gentle yearning to soul-filled longing, from mischievous playfulness to fierce passion. When his self-titled debut hit the streets the power ... more
In 1961, Irish fiddle virtuoso Martin Hayes was born into one of the most influential musical dynasties ever to exist in Irish music. Raised in East Clare, Ireland, Martin was surrounded by exquisite world-class music, supportive family and friends, and both performance and competition opportunities, all of which proved to be the perfect formula necessary to create, arguably, one of the world’s finest Irish fiddlers.
Hayes’ father, the celebrated fiddle player P.J. Hayes, who was the leader of the legendary Tulla Ceili Band, was instrumental in his son’s early musical development. His uncle, national fiddle champion Paddy Canny, was likewise influential in the creation of his inimitable musical style.
Hayes toured with his father in the Tulla Ceili Band from the age of thirteen and was very active in Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the worldwide organization devoted to the preservation of Irish music. During his years competing in Comhaltas music competitions, Hayes took home six All-Ireland championships, the highest level of individual competitive achievement, and by the age of twenty, he had won every competition that Irish music had to offer.
The 1980’s saw Hayes moving to Chicago to take up commercial fiddling. Experimenting in the diverse musical styles of the city, he spent three years playing locally in various rock bands, including the electric/Irish/rock fusion band Midnight Court, where he met his current musical partner, guitarist Dennis Cahill. When his now-manager convinced him to record an all-Irish fiddle album, Hayes recorded his self-titled first US album on the Green Linnet Label, in 1993.
That album was greeted with such extensive critical acclaim that he became an almost instant household name among Irish music connoisseurs, and the album won Ireland’s National Entertainment Award. Hayes’ second album, Under the Moon, was released in 1995, and in 1997, he, along with Dennis Cahill, created an album that would enrapture audiences across the globe and reach over genre divides with expressive candor and natural grace, entitled The Lonesome Touch.
Now living in Seattle, WA, the two tour extensively having releasedLive in Seattle in 1999, and Welcome Here Again in late 2007.