Following on from the success of The Gloaming, the National Concert Hall is delighted to present the debut concerts by Martin Hayes, one of the world’s most celebrated fiddle players and a key figure in Irish traditional music, and his new band the Common Ground Ensemble, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March 2020 8pm. Although rooted in Irish traditional music the ensemble possesses a wealth of talent spanning improvisation, arrangement, jazz, avant-garde and cutting edge contemporary classical.
“Even though there’ll be plenty of space for people to develop their own parts, the larger picture will be driven by my vision for the music. We’ll be seeing what the tune wants to say and seeing how the band can support that. With years of performing I have a sense of what brings me the deepest joy and what gets to the heart of the music” says Hayes.
Hayes aimed to create an ensemble of musicians from different backgrounds who also have connections to Irish music. The line-up emerged to encompass Cormac McCarthy (piano, ‘Cottage Evolution’), Kate Ellis (cello, Artistic Director of Crash Ensemble), Kyle Sanna (guitar, a collaborator with Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile) and Brian Donnellan (bouzouki / harmonium / concertina, and, like Hayes, an alumnus of The Tulla Céilí Band).
The Common Ground Ensemble was also designed to operate as a platform to highlight the talents of various guest performing artists. Joining them at their debut concerts will be special guests David Power playing uilleann pipes (“one of Ireland’s finest uilleann pipers”) and the incredible Sean Nós singer/harpist Síle Denver. The sets promise to be a mixture of everything you’d hope from such a line-up: core elements of the tradition combined with new composition, improvisation and an opportunity for each musician’s remarkable talents to shine. Or as Hayes summarises, “I want this to be the most fun I can have while I’m on stage.”
Finding what’s new, challenging and progressive in the tradition has been a hallmark of Hayes’ career even though the foundations of his music remain firmly rooted in the music of East Co Clare. By his late teens, Hayes had been named the All-Ireland Fiddle Champion seven times and by his early twenties had relocated to Chicago. His credits soon racked up. Solo projects, albums with Dennis Cahill (with whom he has performed in the White House), the Martin Hayes Quartet and of course The Gloaming who have sold out shows around the world in venues such as London’s Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican. In addition, their self-titled debut album won the Meteor Choice Music Prize for Best Irish Album.
The Common Ground Ensemble is the latest stage in Martin Hayes’ life-long musical journey – one that will continue to evolve for years to come. “You have to accept that absolute perfection may elude you forever,” he signs off, for now. “But that’s ok because music isn’t about perfection. For me it’s about heart, feeling, trust, freedom, communication and true aliveness in the moment.”
Tickets €36, €32.50 & €27.50 On Sale Friday 15 November 2019 at 10am www.nch.ie or 01 417 0000
This concert is part of Perspectives at the NCH, sponsored by Davy as Innovation Partner.