Martin Hayes and the Common Ground Ensemble
LONDON Southbank Centre / Queen Elizabeth Hall
SE1 8 XX
Martin Hayes is one of the world's most celebrated fiddle players and an influential figure in Irish traditional music. we delighted to present the UK debut of Martin Hayes’ new band, the Common Ground Ensemble. With the Common Ground Ensemble, Hayes has creates an ensemble with its roots in traditional Irish music - the common ground of their name but possess a wealth of talent spanning trad Irish music, improvisation, arrangement, jazz, avant-garde and cutting edge contemporary classical.
“Even though there’ll be plenty of space for people to bring in their own parts, the larger picture will be driven by my vision for the music. We’ll be seeing what the tune wants to say and seeing how the band can support that. With years of performing I have a sense of what brings me the deepest joy and
what gets to the heart of the music” says Hayes.
Rooted in the classical, folk and contemporary worlds, Hayes founded the seminal Irish-American supergroup The Gloaming, and has collaborated with everyone from Bill Frisell and Yo-Yo Ma to Sting and Paul Simon.
Yet Hayes isn’t one to rest on his laurels, noting “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 the previous project.”
Which is also the basis for his latest project, the Common Ground Ensemble. In recent years, Hayes has produced and curated concerts for various festivals, often bringing together fresh collaborations and forming special ensembles for these events. Reflecting on those very enjoyable experiences, he also noticed that he’d often construct these events without much advance planning while also dealing with time restrictions.
“I started thinking about how, in an ideal world, I’d actually set that up,” he begins. “If I had complete autonomy, what artists would I choose? And
how would I create the most flexible gathering of musicians to become a core band?”
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).
They possess a wealth of talent spanning the worlds of traditional Irish music, cutting edge contemporary classical, composition, improvisation and jazz, and avant-garde.