Shared Notes

Shared Notes

A Musical Journey


Martin Hayes spent his childhood on a farm in County Clare, in a household steeped in musical tradition. After a free-spirited youth, he headed to the United States where he built a career that led to a life of musical performance on stages all over the world. Shared Notes traces this remarkable journey.

Picking up his first fiddle at the age of seven, Hayes learned that music must express feeling. No amount of technical prowess can compensate for an absence of soulfulness. His interpretations of traditional Irish music are recognized the world over for their exquisite musicality and irresistible rhythm.

Hayes has toured and recorded with guitarist Dennis Cahill for over twenty years, founded the Irish-American band The Gloaming, The Martin Hayes Quartet and The Common Ground Ensemble, and here, for the first time, tells his story of getting to the heart of the music.


  • Hayes's artful use of language is as soulful, as skilled and as authentic as the music he makes ... Shared Notes does far more than simply take the reader on a musical journey ... It is a record of traditions past, of people and a way of life long gone, all preserved beautifully in Hayes's eloquent and frequently philosophical writing. It is also a record of the present, a celebration of a living tradition still bursting with potential and energy. This personal, poignant and, at times, immensely profound memoir would make the elders proud.
    Irish Times

About the author

Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes is a renowned fiddler from County Clare. He is a founding member of Irish-American band The Gloaming and has played with many of the greatest traditional Irish musicians of the past thirty years, as well as Sting, Paul Simon and Yo-Yo Ma. He has won TG4 Gradam Ceoil Musician of the Year and BBC Instrumentalist of the Year. He lives in Spain.
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