Martin Hayes And The Common Ground Ensemble 1440x810 (1)
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Martin Hayes is one of the world’s most celebrated fiddlers and an influential figure in Irish traditional music. Rooted in the classical, folk and contemporary worlds, Hayes is the founder of the seminal Irish-American supergroup The Gloaming, and has collaborated with everyone from Bill Frisell and Yo-Yo Ma to Sting and Paul Simon.

Bringing his latest project to Belfast International Arts Festival, Hayes has cherry picked some of his favourite musicians as the core players in The Common Ground Ensemble; pianist Cormac McCarthy, cellist Kate Ellis, multi-instrumentalist Jim Higgins, and bouzouki, harmonium and concertina player Brian Donnellan.

Their common ground is a deep love of Irish traditional music, but each artist takes the form in new and exciting directions: jazz, avant-garde and cutting-edge contemporary classical.

  • Assisted by a grant from the Lord and Lady Lurgan Trust
  • Supported by The Radcliffe Trust


Ciaran Lavery

Image0 (1)After winning the Northern Ireland Music Prize in 2016, you’d be forgiven for assuming Ciaran Lavery would then have slowly ridden off into the sunset to quietly join the ranks of iconic Irish singer-songwriters. Indeed his debut record ‘Let Bad In’ has clocked up millions of streams. However, if Ciaran’s music tells one central theme, it is one of mould-breaking disruption as he seeks to flip the singer-songwriter genre on its head. Expect themes of helplessness, mental turmoil and dark humour all wrapped up in crafted lyricism and musical punch.

Stage times (provisional)

  • 7.30pm: Ciaran Lavery
  • 8.00pm: Interval
  • 8.20pm: Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble
  • 9.50pm: Ends

“In the decades to come, we’ll surely talk of having seen this man in the way others talk of Miles Davis or Jimi Hendrix or John Coltrane.”

The Irish Times