A question of taste: Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes is from Co Clare and his various musical projects include being a member of The Gloaming. He describes music as “my life, its my passion, my hobby and my career”. Hayes performs in concert with Paul Brady, Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Altan and dancer Colin Dunne at the Blas Summer School 20th anniversary concert at the University Concert Hall Limerick on Sunday.

Best recent book: The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross.

Best recent film: Bridge of Spies

Best recent show/exhibition/gig you’ve seen: The most recent thing I’ve done was to visit the National Museum in Washington where I really enjoyed the wing dedicated to American artists.

What formats do you access music?

I mainly use iTunes, I like the access to such a huge library of music and I think its a better model both for musicians and listeners than Spotify.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old):

‘I Am A Youth That’s Inclined to Ramble’ from Paul Brady’s Welcome Kind Stranger recording. It’s about as good as it gets.

First ever piece of music or art or film or gig that really moved you:

There are moments of music that have moved me from my early years hearing Tony McMahon playing on his TV programme Bring Down the Lamp and Ag Déanamh Ceoil, right up to listening to recordings of legendary fiddler Tommy Potts. These are two of the most moving and expressive musicians ever in Irish traditional music.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen: It’s evenly split between hearing Dvorak’s 9th Symphony played by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, conducted by Kurt Masure about 10 years ago; or Rory Gallagher in Chicago about 27 years ago; or seeing Stevie Wonder in concert in Connecticut about eight years ago.

Tell us about your TV viewing:

I don’t watch very much TV, I’m never long enough in one spot to get locked into a TV schedule.

Radio listening: When I’m in Ireland I listen to RTE 1 for current affairs and Lyric FM for music. I love John Kelly’s show and I also love The Blue of the Night.

You are curating your dream gig... what three artists are on the bill (living or dead): Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis and Tommy Potts.

Your best celebrity encounter: I’ve had the great opportunity to play for and chat with President Barack Obama. I’ve played with Paul Simon and Sting. Those are probably my most famous encounters.

Most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought — what was it and how much: I bought a pair of Italian hand made leather shoes and paid over €500. I love them and still wear them after almost six years of continuous use. When you pay for something you tend to take care of it and appreciate it and in the end you may end up saving money. I’ve already re-soled them many times. Sometimes it makes more sense to spend the money, in this case it was cheaper than buying a cheap pair every year.

Tech habits: what you use, and what you use it for: I’m a bit of anApple guy when it comes to tech. I had the very first iPod, first iPhone, and first iPad. I manage all my correspondence, calendars and I read my books and listen to music on my iPad and iPhone. I record all my albums on Mac computers.

Unsung hero — individual, organisation or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve:

My wife Lina has dedicated a huge amount of time and effort to creating a pioneering project for the care of the young child. Its a centre called Brigit’s Hearth in Tuamgraney, Co Clare, and they have created a very magical and beautiful experience in caring for the young children. I feel it’s the child care of the future, check them out, www.brigitshearth.org

You are king for a day — what’s your first decree?

No borders and all money out of politics.


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