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Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble

Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble

Vicar Street, Dublin 

Thursday 19 October 2023

Friday 20 October 2023

Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble: Friday, 20th October ‘23 


To celebrate the release of their highly anticipated album release ‘Peggys Dream’ due for release 24th March 2023, Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble will embark on a special performance in Dublin’s Vicar Street on Friday, 20th October. 


Martin Hayes is regarded as one of the most influential musicians in the world of Irish traditional music today. His playing places the tradition within a wider contemporary context with his unique and insightful interpretations of Irish music. Because he is deeply grounded in the roots of the music and simultaneously open to new possibilities through collaboration, he has been able to develop an authentic style of Irish traditional music that is soulful, vibrant and relevant for today's audiences. He draws inspiration from many musical genres, but remains grounded in the music he grew up with in East County Clare.

Martin Hayes’ soulful interpretation of traditional Irish music has been heard on concert stages all over the world. He has toured and recorded with the late great guitarist Dennis Cahill for over twenty years, and also with The Martin Hayes Quartet and the seminal Irish American band, The Gloaming, both of which he founded.

“The journey never reaches a conclusion. Every new project is the result of possibilities and ideas that begin to appear in the course of developing previous projects.”

The concept of Common Ground Ensemble, his latest project, emerged gradually in recent years while producing and curating concerts for various festivals, often bringing together fresh collaborations and forming special ensembles for these events.

“As I began to get more familiar and comfortable with multi-genre collaboration, and had the opportunity to play with an ever greater variety of players, I started imagining what my most ideal and versatile musical combination might be.”

Hayes aimed to create an ensemble of musicians from different backgrounds who also have connections to Irish music - the common ground of their name.  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).

Collectively they possess a wealth of talent spanning the worlds of traditional Irish music, cutting edge contemporary classical, jazz improvisation and experimental music.

In The Common Ground Ensemble all of these genres are interwoven with the core elements of the tradition in a way that also gives each musician’s remarkable talents the space to shine. Or as Hayes summarises, “I want this to be the most fun I can have while I’m on stage.”

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 perfection may elude you forever,” he signs off. “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.”