Hayes in 2008
|Born||4 July 1962|
|Origin||County Clare, Ireland|
|Labels||Green Linnet, Real World|
P. J. Hayes
Martin Hayes Quartet
Hayes was born into a musical family in Maghera, a village in the parish of Killanena in East Co. Clare, Ireland. His father, P.J. Hayes, was a noted fiddle player and his grandmother played the concertina. His father and his uncle Paddy Canny, also an influential fiddler, were among the founders of the Tulla Céilí Band in 1946. P.J. Hayes led the band from 1952 until shortly before his death in 2001.
Martin Hayes started playing the fiddle at the age of seven, taught by his father. At 13 he won his first of six All-Ireland Fiddle Competitions. He is one of only three fiddlers ever to be named All-Ireland Fiddle Champion in the senior division in two consecutive years (1981 and 1982). He joined the Tulla Céilí Band as a teenager and played in the band for seven years.
Hayes moved to Chicago in 1985 and became active in the Irish traditional music scene there. He was a regular performer at weekly jam sessions organized by Chicago fiddler Liz Carroll, who later described him as belonging to "that very narrow set of performers from any musical genre - not just Irish - whose every note is perfect". To make a living he worked in bars playing in a variety of genres including "rebel music, and songs and stage Irish humor in clubs, and all kinds of things". In the late 1980s he led a band called the "Celtic Aires". In 1989 he and the Chicago guitarist Dennis Cahill formed "Midnight Court", which combined traditional Irish and rock music. The band was active until 1992. In 1993 Hayes moved to Seattle, where he lived until 2005.
His solo recording career began in 1993, with an eponymous debut album recorded with Randal Bays on guitar. On his second recording, Under the Moon (1995), he was accompanied by Bays on guitar and fiddle and guitarist Steve Cooney, as well as his father P.J. Hayes on fiddle and John Williams on concertina and accordion.
In 1996 Hayes formed an acoustic duet with Dennis Cahill, developing an "unrushed, lyrical, highly expressive interpretation" of traditional Irish music. In 1999 a New York Times reviewer described Hayes and Cahill's approach as "stripping old reels and jigs to their essence, leaving space between the notes for harmonics and whispered blue notes," resulting in "a Celtic complement to Steve Reich's quartets or Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain. " Hayes and Cahill have released three recordings on the Green Linnet label: The Lonesome Touch (1997), Live in Seattle (1999), and Welcome Here Again (2008).
Hayes and Cahill, along with singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and pianist Doveman, are the members of The Gloaming, an Irish-American supergroup whose first album was released in 2014, winning the Meteor Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year.
Hayes performs and records with Peadar Ó Riada and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh as the group "Tríur".
Hayes is a member of the newly formed Martin Hayes Quartet, with Dennis Cahill, Liz Knowles, and Doug Wieselman.
He has also appeared on a number of recordings with other musicians from east Clare including Christy McNamara's CD The House I was Reared In, Mary MacNamara's CD Traditional Music from East Clare and the Compilation CD Reeling Through the Years celebrating 20 years of music from the Feakle Festival.
Hayes plays regularly with The Tulla Céilí Band, of which his late father was a founding member. Since 2003 Hayes has been the musical director of the Masters of Tradition festival, held in Bantry House (Bantry, County Cork) every summer.
With P. J. Hayes
Martin Hayes Quartet
Martin Hayes albums
Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill albums
As a member of the Tulla Céilí Band
With The Gloaming