Saturday, February 28, 2009

Martyn and Martin

For me, there are two people that set the standards on opposite poles of Celtic music: Martyn Bennett and Martin Hayes.

First, there is the Scottish piper Martyn Bennett, who died in 2005 after a long bout with cancer, having released 5 recordings which continue to set the bar for traditional-contemporary fusion. I'm proud to say that The Cedar was one of a handful of venues that presented Martyn during his only U.S. tour in 1998 (to less than 100 people). There do not seem to be any good live videos of Martyn on YouTube, but here's some complied footage to one of my favorite recorded tracks:

And here's a solo pipe video of Martyn which displays his raw talent as a player:

Then there's the other end of the spectrum, the County Clare (Ireland) fiddler Martin Hayes, who plays at The Cedar on Sunday night, the 1st of March, with his long-time guitarist Dennis Cahill. Martin and Denis work acoustically, but their explorations of the core essence of melody and improvisation are no less extraordinary.

Here's a great video which shows how they effortlessly string multiple tunes together, build, improvise, and how Martin just cooks when he gets going (stick with it)!

Martin has played The Cedar many times (he even lived in the Twin Cities briefly in the early 90's), but his appearances are always "don't miss" in my calendar.

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