Masters of Tradition, tonight!


Iarla O Lionaird (vocals), Martin Hayes (fiddle) and David Power (uilleann pipes) (Erin Baiano)
How It’s (tristate) New York:  fiddler Martin Hayes lives in Connecticut, and this is being copresented by New York’s gem, the Irish Arts Center.
How It’s Irish: The musicians are Irish:  Martin Hayes is artistic director and fiddle, Iarla Ó Lionáird on vocals, Dennis Cahill on guitar, Máirtín O’Connor plays accordion, Cathal Hayden, Seamie O’Dowd, guitar, David Power, uilleann pipes

Sorry for the late notice on this but it’s not too late to get tickets for tonight’s concert with Masters of Tradition at Symphony Space! 

After seeing them at APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) last year, I wrote in Irish Examiner USA:


They were like the Session band you hope to hear in Heaven!

From IAC’s press:

Seven of the most compelling artists in Irish music today come together at Symphony Space to explore the heart of Irish traditional music, based on a famous festival curated by Martin Hayes in the West County Cork town of Bantry.

Tuesday January 11, 2011

Tweaking The Tradition

The Masters of Tradition showcase Saturday night brought some of the best Irish traditional musicians to the Kaufman Center: Sean Nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, piper David Power, fiddler Martin Hayes, guitarist Dennis Cahill, and fiddler Cathal Hayden, accordionist Máirtín O’Connor, and guitar player Seamie O’Dowd.

Eugene Downes introduced the event to the invited audience by describing hearing the beautiful lonesome sound of the pipes in the Opera House in Sydney, where the musicians had performed a concert based on the “Masters of Tradition” Festival at Banry House, West County Cork, Ireland, and realizing they had to bring this here. Hayes serves as the Artistic Director of the Masters of Tradition Festival, and selected the program, telling the audience that he brought in people “able to unearth the soul of this music.”

The event began with the pure, haunting sound of Ó Lionáird, followed by a stirring lament from Power. Hayes and Ó Lionáird then joined him, and it really demonstrated how the droning pipe, soulful voice and delicate fiddle could blend together as if they came from the same source.
Hayes and Power then played together, followed by Hayes and Cahill, who watch each other so closely for each move it almost feels intrusive to see them – except you can’t tear your eyes away.

Gradually slow, baroque tunes grew faster and exciting until the audience was on its feet. It was a hard act to follow, but Hayden, O’Connor and O’Dowd did just that-brilliantly. They were like the Session band you hope to hear in Heaven-bright, virtuosic, infectious. And finally everyone came back and played together – Ó Lionáird returned for a gorgeous version of the Jacobite anthem “Mo Gile Mear,” then the instrumentalists played one more.

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.