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Ireland-born and Seattle-based Martin Hayes is a master of the slow, lyrical Clare style of fiddling. The son of P.J. Hayes, fiddler and leader of the 50-year-old Tulla Ceili Band, Hayes has continued to expand on his father's legacy.
Hayes comes from one of Ireland's most important musical families. In addition to his father's influence, Hayes inherited his musical skills from a grandmother who played concertina, and an uncle (by marriage), Paddy Canny, who was a national fiddle champion. A six-time winner of the All-Ireland fiddle championship, Hayes received his first fiddle as a Christmas gift at the age of seven; much of his youth was spent playing with his father's band. After college, Hayes emigrated to Chicago where he played with a rock band, Midnight Court.
Shortly after moving to Seattle, Hayes recorded his first solo album of traditional Irish music, The Shores of Lough Graney, released on cassette by Ice Nine. His subsequent albums — Martin Hayes and Under the Moon — have been released by Green Linnet. Under the Moon, which was recorded in County Clare, featured instrumental contributions by P.J. Hayes, guitarist Steve Cooney and Hayes' American band, the Randal Boys. In June 1997, Hayes recorded an album, The Lonesome Touch, with Irish accordion player Dennis Cahill. Live in Seattle followed two years later.