Dennis Cahill (musician)

Dennis Cahill is an American guitarist who specializes in Irish traditional music. He was born in Chicago on June 16, 1954. His parents were from County Kerry, Ireland. Cahill began playing guitar at the age of nine and studied guitar at the Chicago Musical College.[1] He was active in the Irish traditional music scene in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s.[2]

Dennis Cahill
Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill (6001371933).jpg
Background information
Born (1954-06-16) June 16, 1954 (age 66)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
GenresIrish traditional music
Years active1980s–present
LabelsGreen Linnet
Associated actsThe Gloaming, MH Quartet

In the late 1980s he and Irish fiddler Martin Hayes formed a band in Chicago called Midnight Court which combined traditional music with rock and roll.[3] The band, in which Cahill played a Fender Telecaster and Hayes an electric fiddle, was active between 1989 and 1992. After its demise Cahill and Hayes continued to work together and formed an acoustic duo in 1996, developing an "unrushed, lyrical, highly expressive interpretation" of traditional Irish music.[4] Cahill's chordal accompaniment uses standard tuning.[5]

In 1999 a New York Times reviewer described Hayes and Cahill's approach as "stripping old reels and jigs to their essence, leaving space between the notes for harmonics and whispered blue notes," resulting in "a Celtic complement to Steve Reich's quartets or Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain. "[6] Hayes and Cahill have toured extensively and released three recordings on the Green Linnet label: The Lonesome Touch (1997), Live in Seattle (1999), and Welcome Here Again (2008).[7] Cahill and Hayes, along with singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and pianist Doveman, are the members of The Gloaming, an Irish-American supergroup whose first album was released in 2014, winning the Meteor Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year.[8][9]

Dennis resides in Chicago with his wife Mary Joyce.


  1. ^ "Dennis Cahill". Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  2. ^ Vallely, Fintan (1999). The Companion to Irish Traditional Music. New York, N.Y.: New York University Press. p. 419. ISBN 9780814788028.
  3. ^ Nicholsen, Michael D (2007). "Auld Sod" and the New Turf: Entertainment, Nationalism, and Identity in the Irish Traditional Music Community of Chicago, 1868--1999. Chicago: Loyola University. p. 303. ISBN 9780549400509.
  4. ^ Hitchner, Earle (13 March 2008). "Fearlessness and fidelity mark this Irish fiddler's art". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  5. ^ Vallely, Fintan (1999). The Companion to Irish Traditional Music. New York, N.Y.: New York University Press. p. 162. ISBN 9780814788028.
  6. ^ Powers, Ann (14 January 1999). "Melodies of Ireland, complex yet sparse". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Artists in Association - Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill". Clare Memory Orchestra. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  8. ^ Kelly, Aoife (5 March 2015). "The Gloaming win coveted Meteor Choice Music Prize Album of the Year, The Script bag Song of the Year". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  9. ^ Hickling, Alfred (23 July 2014). "How The Gloaming assembled their craic squad". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2016.

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