When I went to see this duo, I was expecting it tobe an understated evening. I expected to hear pretty Irish reels and jigs played
in a subdued manner. It’s just two guys, I told myself. They weren’t going to
have bagpipes with fireworks coming out of them like Gaelic Storm or Flogging
Molly. How intense could it get?
That night, One Longfellow Squarewas packed to the gills, and the two men came out and began to play. The
darkened house and the lilting tunes (why is it that Irish tunes are
always lilting, and yet they are--)thrummed along until the whole bunch of us were on a hypnotic journey with
Martin and Dennis. They played in an understated way, like whirling dervishes.
They whirled like gentlemen at first, maybe more like twirling dervishes,
pulling us all into the centripetal force of the whirling, which sped ever so
lightly along, until Martin’s legs were going up and down off the stage, his
wild, long, curly hair flying, his arms and fingers constant and channeling the
god of music, with a building, unifying, joyous frenzy. The audience, eyes
fixed on the pair, were one in focus, many legs, feet, knees, hands bouncing along
with Martin’s, and the whole place levitating with the transcendent hypnosis of
It seemed to me that each medleylasted about 30 minutes, and they played several medleys. Dennis started off
stately and lovely on the guitar, and then the pace accelerated, and
accelerated more, but not to the point of driving off the cliff into oblivion,
but with control, balance and poise. And intensity. Did I mention intensity?
Martin mentioned that he wasexperiencing flu symptoms, and I wondered which kind of flu, hoping it wasn’t
the stomach flu. I got visuals of the possibility of a kind of Vesuvius
eruption happening between the bow and strings. But he didn’t manifest anything
publicly. In fact he stated that as long as he was playing he felt fine. He felt
the symptoms between tunes. His sense of humor was charming andunderstated, and Dennis was his straight man, constant and faithful.
Over the years they have receivedmultiple awards and recorded several albums. Anyone who enjoys Irish music in
its spare simplicity will love these two guys. I would relish the chance to see
them live again, and plan to enjoy their CDs until the next time I have the
Checkout Green Linnet Records Website, featuring their latest CD, Welcome HereAgain, at http://www.greenlinnet.com.
You can also visit http://www.martinhayes.com/
to find out about tours and other details.
For music lovers visiting Portland, Maine, I highly recommendOne Longfellow Square ~ "Portland's Premier Arts Venue"
Check them out at onelongfellowsquare.com
Photo by Derek Speirs
Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.
She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews".
Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD.
For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.