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Martin Hayes on traditional music, The Gloaming, and gently breaking the rules / HOT PRESS

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"I've never seen myself as a virtuoso."    Martin Hayes, the fiddle-playing godhead behind The Gloaming, takes Pat Carty through the various stages of his awe-inspiring musical odyssey.

Martin Hayes, get up the yard. If there's anyone at work in any genre of music today - not just the world of traditional Irish music - who warrants that appellation then it's the man seated in front of me. Raised in East Clare, Hayes followed his father P.J. into the Tulla Céillí Band as a teenager after winning the first of a pile of All-Ireland Fiddle Competitions at the tender age of thirteen. He would of course go on to a famous career, which we'll get to presently, but first of all I need to know how to address this Maestro, as NUI Galway recently awarded him an honorary doctorate, do I call him Dr Hayes?

"You don't, no," says Martin, deflecting and slightly embarrassed. "It came completely out of the blue, I was absolutely flabbergasted, but very honoured and flattered"

The reason Hayes is talking to the press is his upcoming brace of shows in the National Concert Hall with his new Common Ground Ensemble as part of their engaging Perspectives series. "This idea emerged from a conversation I was having with Gary Sheehan (Head of Programme Planning at the NCH) and one I was having with my wife. Originally I was planning to have a little mini-festival of collaboration but it moved towards creating a group of musicians that could collaborate with others. Almost like a house band of Irish music, expanding out into other areas, open to collaborators from any background."

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