- 15 Feb 23
Peggy's dream will be released March 24th, with their launch taking place at the NCH.
Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble have announced the release of their upcoming album, Peggy's Dream, for March 24th, with a performance in Dublin’s Vicar Street on 20th October. Due to high demand, their National Concert Hall album launch has now been sold out for March 26th. Those that missed out on the chance to purchase tickets need not worry as the show will be filmed for broadcast later.
The new album is dedicated to Hayes’ longtime collaborator Dennis Cahill and his mother Peggy, and will be released via Faction Records.
Hayes, with The Common Ground Ensemble aimed to create an ensemble of musicians deriving from a variety of backgrounds who all have a connection to Irish music. The line-up formed to include 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 Ceìilì Band).
Together, they possess a wealth of talent spanning the genres of traditional Irish music, cutting edge contemporary classical, jazz improvisation and experimental music. In the Ensemble, all of these are woven together with the core elements of the tradition to provide the capacity for each musician’s talent to shine, or in Hayes’ words, “I want this to be the most fun I can have while I’m on stage.”
Speaking on what sets the Common Ground Ensemble apart from his other projects, Hayes has said, “I’ve usually tended to gather a group of people together and just see what begins to emerge,” considers Hayes. The larger picture in terms of mood, feeling, harmonies and overall arrangement is mostly driven by my aspirations for the tunes. I make a rough arrangement sketch that we then collectively fill out. One of my goals is also to create space and opportunity for all the different musical personalities, styles and genres to be freely expressed within this band. I feel that the ensemble’s potential is best realised when the totality of each musicians capacity and musical personality can be fully utilised and freely expressed.”
The musician has always been passionate about seeking out what’s new, challenging, and progressive, whilst staying true to his roots firmly in the music of East Co.Clare.
Born and raised in a locality filled with music, where both his father P.J. Hayes, and uncle, Paddy Canny were both renowned fiddle players and founder members of The Tulla Ceìilì Band - the same group that both Hayes Jr. and Brian Donnellan have played in.
Martin always possessed a passion for music, but never intended to venture down its career path, “I always loved it but I didn’t want the precarious life that often comes with being a professional musician. I was good at it and identified with it more than anything else in my life. In retrospect I was very lucky that a career emerged even if I hadn’t planned it.”
By his late teenage years, the musician had emerged as the All-Ireland Fiddle Champion seven times. He relocated to Chicago then where he discovered something new about himself.
“I liked reaching outside of the world of traditional music and it was there that my first adventurous collaboration and lifetime friendship with Dennis Cahill began in a band called Midnight Court.”
Whilst there, he met with new musicians, encountered new bands, and ended up in some unlikely recording sessions.
“Some of them were very loud and rock ‘n’ roll, but I’d get through it somehow and I always learned from the experience,’ Hayes said. “Even if the lesson was, don’t do that again,” he chuckles. “It’s an important idea to me to be open-minded and not shut the door on things that I’m not familiar with or do not fully understand.”
As his career progressed, credits soon began to wrack up as he worked on solo projects with Dennis Cahill, The Gloaming, the Martin Hayes Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Triuìr and countless others. “These projects are the indispensable foundations of my current thoughts about how I like to arrange and perform traditional Irish music.”
Hayes hopes to see The Common Ground Ensemble evolve for years to come, stating “you have to accept that perfection may elude you forever.”
“But that’s ok because music isn’t about perfection. For me it’s more about heart, feeling, trust, freedom, communication and true aliveness in the moment,” he adds.
Martin’s musical accolades include Musician of the Year (Gradam Ceoil) from TG4, Person of the Year by the American Irish Historical Society in New York City and is recipient of the annual Spirit of Ireland award from the Irish Arts Center NY. At the first BBC Folk Awards he was named musician of the year, and also at RTÉ’s inaugural Folk Awards. WIth fellow musician Dennis, he performed for President Obama and dignitaries at both the White House and the US Capitol Building in March, 2011. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the National University of Ireland Galway.
Peggy's Dream is available to pre order/save here.
- 13 Sep 23