Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill recently stepped into the NPR offices to record this Tiny Desk Concert, watching them play is poetry in motion, no suprise that Hayes is regarded by many as one of the best fiddle players around and Dennis Cahill’s guitar playing alongside Hayes is acknowledged as a major breakthrough for guitar in the Irish tradition.
Cahill is a native of Chicago born to parents from the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland, but if you want a laugh read his biography on his own website…”I was born at an early age… yada, yada, yada”
Martin was born in County Clare and his father P. Joe was a fiddler with the Tulla Céilí Band for fifty years! He learned fiddle from the age of seven and was exposed to the music of many great Irish tradtional artists. He also witnessed some of the legendary performers such as Seamus Ennis in Galligan’s bar at Crusheen. By the age of 14 he was playing with the Tulla band and touring Ireland, England and America. What surprises many is that it he had a spell of playing Celtic rock with his fellow musician Denis Cahill before reverting back to playing traditional music.
The melodies in his music are exceptional, he explores the minute using a slow-fuse technique developing ‘sensory structures in ornament and stylistic, melodic and dynamic variation.’
You just need to let yourself go when listening to them both play:
NPR had this to say:
I’m a year-round Irish-music guy. I’ve spent many summers at Celtic-music camps trying to improve my mediocre guitar skills and enjoying late-night Irish music sessions. I’ve seen Hayes at these camps as a teacher and performer; his playing has brought me to tears at times, and at others has made me burst out with joyful laughter. I couldn’t be prouder to have him perform for us.
Hayes has worked with many accompanying musicians, and some are equal partners, but with Dennis Cahill you get delicate support. It’s a rhythm that keeps the tune in; that accents and colors it but never overtakes it. It’s brilliant restraint that serves the music and perfectly suits his parter. So with fresh ears, come join us in a rare treat with a familiar sound.
“The Mountain Lark/Tom Doherty’s Reel”
“P. Joe’s Reel/The Obama Reel”
“O’Carolan’s Farewell To Music”